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Dear Lankester, 

No one who reads this book will require to be told 
that there were many points of vital importance upon which your 
convictions and those of the subject of this biography were dia- 
metrically opposed. Yet you respected him and he admired you, 
and of all our friends you were the earliest to urge me to under- 
take this labour of love. I desire to inscribe your name on this 
first page of my book, not merely because of those pleasant 
relations which have so long existed between your family and 
mine, but as a hint to such readers as may come to the perusal 
of it with opinions strongly biassed in one direction or in another, 
that it is wise to " condemn not all things in the Council of 
Trent, nor approve all in the Synod of Dort." Y^ou, at least, in 
reading this life of your old acquaintance, will be pleased where 
you can share his beliefs, and interested in the attitude of his 
mind where you wholly disagree with him. 
Believe me to be 

Yours very sincerely, 

Edmund Gosse. 

October^ 1 890. 


Although my father never made any direct reference to 
the subject, the condition of his papers left us without 
doubt that he had contemplated the probability of the 
publication of a memoir. We found that he had ar- 
ranged his diaries, notes, and correspondence in strict 
order, and as though with a view to their use as bio- 
graphical material. In 1868 he became greatly interested 
in all that reminded him of his early life. He paid a visit 
to the haunts of his childhood, he wrote to such persons as 
were likely to recall the events in which he was interested, 
and he amassed a great quantity of anecdotes and memo- 
randa. As is usually the case with the autobiographies 
of elderly persons, his interest in the task dwindled when 
he had passed the period of childhood ; but it did not 
quite cease until it had reached the point where existing 
letters, and an unbroken scries of diaries, took up and 
completed the tale. The biographer, therefore, has had 
the rather unusual good fortune of being evenly supplied 
with material, and of having no gaps to leap over. 

The subject of this memoir was a man of very singular 
character. He was less in sympathy with the literary and 
scientific movement of our age than, perhaps, any writer 
or observer of equal distinction. It was very curious that 
a man should write a long series of popular books, and 

viii PREFACE. 

should add in many directions to the sum of exact know- 
ledge, and at the same time have so little in common with 
his contemporaries as my father had. I hope that in the 
course of this narrative the salient points of a remarkable 
mental constitution, of a peculiarly isolated mind, will be 
found to have been so illuminated as to permit the reader 
to form for himself a portrait of the man. I have not con- 
cealed or manipulated any of his peculiarities. My only 
endeavour has been to present my father as he was, and in 
so doing I have felt sure of his own approval. He utterly 
despised that species of modern biography which depicts 
what was a human being as though transformed into the 
tinted wax of a hairdresser's block. He used to speak 
wath strong contempt of *' goody-goody lives of good m en.' 
He was careless of opinion, and he lived rigidly up to a 
private standard of his own. I have taken it to be the 
truest piety to represent him exactly as I knew him and 
have found him. 

For various statements in the earlier pages I am 
indebted to the still unpublished autobiography of my 
grandfather, Mr. Thomas Gosse, and to the memory of my 
venerable uncle, Mr. William Gosse. Among those whom 
I have to thank for their kindness in helping me to pro- 
duce this volume, I must mention two friends in particular, 
Mr. Francis Darwin, F.R.S., who has allowed me to print 
a number of very interesting letters from his father ; and 
Mr. Arthur E. Shipley, Fellow of Christ's College, Cam- 
bridge, who has very kindly revised the zoological 
portions of the text. 



I. Childhood (1810-1827)... ... ... ... .. i 

II. Newfoundland (1827, 1828) ... ... ... 30 

III. Newfoundland (1828-1835) ... ... ... ... 61 

IV. Canada (1835-1838) ... ... ... ... 89 

V. Alabama {1838) ... ... ... ... ... no 

VI. Literary Struggles (1839-1844) ... ... ... 149 

VII. Jamaica (1844-1846) ... ... ... ... ... iSo 

VIII. Literary Work in London ( 1846-185 1) ... ... 206 

IX. Work at the Seashore (1852-1856) ... ... ... 235 

X. Literary Work in Devonshire (1857-1864) ... 271 

XI. Last Years (1864-1888) ... ... ... ... 306 

XII. General Characteristics ... .. 3-4 

Appendix I. ... ... ... .• ••• ••• 353 

Appendix II. ... ... ••• ••• 375 





1 8 10-1827. 

EARLY in the spring of 1807 a middle-aged gentleman 
arrived in Worcester by the Bath coach, and pro- 
ceeded to modest lodgings, where he was already well 
known and highly respected. He was a man of a somewhat 
rueful countenance, whose well-made, thread-bare clothes 
indicated at the same time a certain past quality and an 
obvious state of present impecuniosity. He was tall and 
thin, his hair was prematurely whitening above a dark 
complexion, and his grave and gentle features very rarely 
relaxed into a smile. The simple wallet which comprised 
all his worldly possessions contained, beside his slender 
store of clothes and necessaries, little except a Bible, and 
a Theocritus in Greek, which never quitted him, but 
formed, at the darkest moments of his career, a gate of 
instant exit from, the hard facts of life into an idyllic world 
of glowing pastoral antiquity. His one other and most 
indispensable companion was a box, containing colours, 



a bundle of five brushes, and some leaves of ivory, for he 
was a perambulating- miniature-painter. 

This was Mr. Thomas Gosse, father of the subject and 
grandfather of the writer of the present memoir. Born in 
1765, he had been the eleventh of the twelve children of 
William Gosse, a wealthy cloth manufacturer of Ringwood, 
in Hampshire. The family had been leading citizens of 
that town, and had always been engaged in the same 
industry since the reign of Charles IL, legend attributing 
to the race a French origin, and an advent into England 
at the Restoration. The name appears to have no direct 
or recent relation with Goss, a frequent name in the west 
of England ; but to mark kinship with the southern French 
family, from which Etienne Gosse, the author of Le 
Medisant, sprang at the close of the eighteenth century. 
Mr. William Gosse had been not a little of a local magnate, 
and had served, by virtue of some Welsh estates, as High 
Sheriff of Radnorshire. But the earliest introduction of 
machinery had struck heavily at the woollen manufacture, 
and he died in 1784, at the age of seventy, an impoverished 
though not a ruined man. 

Of the divided remnant of the father's fortune, Thomas 
Gosse had, by 1807, long spent the last penny of his 
trifling share. He had been trained, at his own passionate 
request, to be an artist, had worked at the schools of the 
Royal Academy under Sir Joshua Reynolds, and for 
twenty years had lived precariously as a mezzotint en- 
graver, first under Anker Smith, A.R.A., then under 
William Ward, A.R.A., and at length independently. 
But he had no push in him, no ambition, and no energy. 
He was of a solitary and retiring disposition, and incapable 
of any business exertion. At last, in the summer of 
1803, he had ceased to follow engraving. The fashion 
for mezzotints was everywhere on the decline, and their 


place was being taken by the highly finished miniatures 
on ivory of which Cosway had been the most famous 
executant in the previous generation. The fashion had 
now filtered down to the lower middle class, and it was 
become the practice for artists not of the highest rank to 
go round the country from town to town, staying long 
enough in each place to paint the heads of such clients as 
they met with. Thomas Gosse, who had worked under 
Edward Penny, R.A., had preserved something of the dry 
manner of that pupil of Hudson's, but had learned from 
his own long practice in mezzotint engraving to draw with 
accuracy. Never inspired or in any way first-rate, his 
miniatures are nevertheless fairly accomplished, and the 
best of them possess a certain delicate charm of colour. 
But he had no introductions, he shrank with extreme 
timidity from any advertisement of himself, and during 
the first years of his new profession he sank lower and 
lower into the depths of genteel poverty. When he 
entered Worcester in 1807, the fortunes of the gentle, 
melancholy, unupbraiding man were at their nadir. He 
was in his forty-third year, and he was ready to despair 
of life. 

In his perambulations he had several times visited the 
city of Worcester, for which he professed a special par- 
tiality. His particular patrons and friends were a Mr. 
and Mrs. Green, people of wealth and education, at whose 
table the miniature-painter, with his tags of Theocritus 
and his Parson Adams' manner, was always welcome. On 
this occasion he met for the first time a fresh inmate of 
their establishment, a Miss Hannah Best, a very handsome 
and powerfully built girl of twenty-six, who occupied an 
ambiguous position, half lady's-maid, half companion, in 
the Green household. The fact was that she had run away 
from her own home to escape the tyranny of her mother. 


Her father, Philip Best, of Titton Brook, near Stourport, 
was a yeoman, who cultivated his paternal acres, and 
added to his income occasionally by working for hire 
under neighbouring farmers. His wife, the mother of 
Hannah Best, was a virago of a bygone type. She was 
a thorough shrew, who kept her children, and for that 
matter her husband, in wholesome awe of her tongue and 
hand. Even when her daughters were grown women, 
Mrs. Best would scruple not, when her temper was aroused, 
to whip off her high-heeled shoe and apply personal 
chastisement in no perfunctory fashion. It was while 
smarting under one of these humiliating inflictions that 
Hannah Best had fled to an asylum in the house of Mrs. 
Green, in Worcester. 

The beauty, the strength, the pastoral richness of the 
nature of Hannah Best produced an instant and extra- 
ordinary effect on Thomas Gosse. She was one of his 
Sicilian shepherdesses come to life again. Theocritus him- 
self seemed to have prophesied of this beautiful child of a 
race of neatherds. Like another daughter of Polybotas, 
she had but just come from piping to the reapers on the 
Titton farm. He fell violently in love, for the first time 
in his life. Hannah Best, when he proposed, was startled 
and repelled. This grey and withered man, who never 
smiled, without fortune, without prospects — what sort of 
husband was that for her t But Mr. and Mrs. Green, 
glad perhaps to have an embarrassing knot thus opportunely 
cut, presented other views of the matter to her. He was 
a gentleman and a man of education, such as Hannah 
could not hope otherwise to secure ; he was a man of pure 
conduct and pious habits ; he would doubtless thrive when 
once her strength of purpose and practical good sense 
should supply a backbone to his character. Not enthusi- 
astically, she consented to marry him, and after a fashion 



she learned to love him. Love or no love, she made for 
nearly forty years an ideal mainstay and central standard 
of his family life. They were married at the parish 
church of St. Nicholas, in the city of Worcester, on July 
15, 1807. 

He had taken to a nomadic life, and where he wandered 
she was bound to wander. They began a desperate flight 
from town to town, equalled only in discomfort by the 
hurried and incessant pilgrimages of the parents of 
Laurence Sterne. The first movement was to Gloucester, 
where no one could be found to sit for a portrait. In a 
panic, the couple presently fled to Bristol, where they 
lodged for a few months, near the Hot Wells, Thomas 
Gosse painting " valetudinary " and other ladies and teach- 
ing drawing with tolerable success. On April 24, 1808, 
a son, William, who still survives, was born to them in 
Bristol. After shifting out to Clifton, and then in again to 
Bristol itself, they came to the conclusion that business 
was exhausted in that neighbourhood, and in January, 18 10, 
shifted again, this time back to Worcester ; thence to 
Upton-on-Severn, thence to Evesham, and back once more 
to Worcester, just in time for the auspicious incident to 
take place of which the previous lines are but the necessary 

Philip Henry Gosse, the second child of Thomas 
and Hannah Gosse, was born in lodgings over the shop 
of Mr. Garner, the shoemaker, in High Street, Worcester, 
on April 6, 18 10. Short rest was given to the unfortu- 
nate mother, for in July the family, now four in number, 
made yet another migration, this time to Coventry, where 
they took lodgings in West Orchard. For some months 
Coventry proved to be a capital centre, and Mr. Gosse 
had plenty of business, but in December of the same year 
they were off again, and now to Leicester. Mrs. Gosse, 


however, was by this time weary of such an aimless life, 
such incessant pitching of the tent a day's march further 
on. She swept aside the objections of her husband's 
gentility, and determined to see whether she could not 
bring grist to the mill. While Mr. Gosse was away 
painting his portraits, she obtained permission to turn the 
front room of their lodgings into a shop. She was '* at 
the expense of a large and finely sashed bow-window," 
and this she stocked with groceries. The consequence 
was that, when her husband made his next proposal that, 
as usual, they should move on, she declined to leave 
Leicester, and allowed him to start on a professional tour 
through the east of England alone. She was, however, 
in spite of her energy, unskilled in the arts of shopkeeping, 
and when he returned, she easily agreed to make one more 
flitting — as far as she was concerned, the final one. 

Three of Thomas Gosse's elder sisters had married 
well, and were all domiciled at Poole, in Dorsetshire. In 
the autumn of 1811 he went thither to visit them, and was 
struck by the advantages that might accrue from settling 
in the neighbourhood of these three well-to-do establish- 
ments. His visit to Poole, moreover, was attended by the 
exhibition in the heavens of a comet of unusual splendour, 
and this imposing spectacle impressed his wife as an omen 
of favourable import. Thomas Gosse passed the winter in 
visiting his three sisters in turn, was encouraged by them 
all to come to reside in Dorset, and in May, 18 12, returned 
to Leicester to prepare for the final flitting. The family 
set out by stages in the coach, their furniture following 
them by waggon. They spent a few days at Titton Brook 
with the grand-parents, and on this occasion my father 
formed his earliest durable recollection of a scene. He 
was two years and one month old at the time, and his 
record of the fact may be given as the first example of the 



astonishing power of memory which was to accompany 
him through life. " I was in my mother's arms," he wrote 
in a memorandum dated 1868, ''at the bottom of the 
front garden [at Titton], where it was divided by a hedge 
from the road. There came by a team of oxen or horses, 
driven by a peasant who guided them by his voice : — ' Gee, 
Captain ! Wo, Merryman ! ' These two names I vividly 
recollect, and the whole scene." He never again visited 
Titton Brook, and it is certain that no portion of the im- 
pression could be derived from later knowledge. Travel- 
ling by Birmingham and Salisbury, the Gosses came, in 
June, 18 12, to Poole, and settled in furnished lodgings in 
the Old Orchard. 

The borough and county of the borough of Poole, to 
give it its full honours, possessed in those days a population 
of about six thousand souls. It was a prosperous little 
town, whose good streets, sufficiently broad and well paved, 
were lined with solid and comfortable red-brick houses. 
The upper part of the borough was clean, the sandy soil 
on which it was built aiding a rapid drainage after rain. 
The lower streets, such as the sea end of Lagland and Fish 
Streets, the Strand, and the lanes abutting on the Quay, 
were filthy enough ; while the nose was certainly not 
regaled by the reeking odours of the Quay itself, with its 
stores and piles of salt cod, its ranges of barrels of train 
oil, its rope and tar and turpentine, and its well-stocked 
shambles for fresh fish, sometimes too obviously in the 
act of becoming stale fish. Yet, among seaport towns, its 
character was one of exceptional sweetness and cleanliness. 
And here, though the memory is one of some years' later 
date, I may print my father's impression of the Poole of his 
early childhood : — 

" The Quay, with its shipping and sailors ; their songs, 
" and cries of ' Heave with a will, yoho 1 ' the busy mer- 


" chants bustling to and fro ; fishermen and boatmen 
"and hoymen in their sou'westers, guernsey frocks, and 
" loose trousers ; countrymen, young bumpkins in smocks, 
"seeking to be shipped as 'youngsters' for Newfound- 
" land ; rows of casks redolent of train oil ; Dobell, the 
"gauger, moving among them, rod in hand; customs- 
" officers and tide-waiters taking notes ; piles of salt fish 
" loading ; packages of dry goods being shipped ; coal 
"cargoes discharging ; dogs in scores ; idle boys larking 
"about or mounting the rigging, — among them Bill 
" Goodwin displaying his agility and hardihood on the 
" very truck of some tall brig ; — all this makes a lively 
"picture in my memory, while the church bells, a full 
"peal of eight, are ringing merrily. The Poole men 
" gloried somewhat in this peal ; and one of the low inns 
" frequented by sailors, in one of the lanes opening on 
"the Quay, had for its sign the Eight Bells duly depicted 
" in full. 

" Owing to the immense area of mud in Poole Harbour, 
" dry at low water, and treacherously covered at high, 
" leaving only narrow and winding channels of water 
"deep enough for shipping to traverse, skilled pilots 
" were indispensable for every vessel arriving or sailing. 
" From our upper windows in Skinner Street, we could 
"see the vessels pursuing their course along Main 
" Channel, now approaching LilHput, then turning and 
"apparently coasting under the sand-banks of North 
" Haven. Pilots, fishermen, boatmen of various grades, 
" a loose-trousered, guernsey-frocked sou'westered race, 
" were always lounging about the Quay." 
Such was in 1812, and such continued to be for the next 
twelve years, the background to the domestic fortunes of 
the Gosses. Thomas Gosse presently departed, in his 
customary nomadic way, and spent the winter at Yeovil, 


in Somerset. Before leaving his wife and children, he took 
the house, No. i, Skinner Street, which is mentioned in the 
above quotation. The sisters-in-law helped with the 
furnishing, and life promised to be far more pleasant with 
Hannah Gossc than ever before; but the protection of 
these relations was tempered by a kind of conscious 
condescension, and Thomas was not allowed to forget that 
he had been guilty of a mesalliance. I have heard my 
grandmother describe how deep an impression was made 
upon her by the loneliness of her first winter in Poole. 
She was timid and not a little inclined to superstition, and 
she had newly come into what seemed to her a large house, 
with not a soul to relieve her nocturnal solitude, except 
her two sleeping babies. She used to keep them in a crib 
in the parlour till she went to bed, as some feeble company. 
These painful feelings were much increased by a terrifying 
circumstance, which was never satisfactorily accounted for. 
There was no shutter to the back-parlour window, and late 
one dark evening, in the depth of the winter of 1812, one 
of the bottom panes was suddenly smashed, by no apparent 
cause. Perhaps a cat had lost his footing on the tiles, and, 
pitching on the sill, had rebounded against the glass. But 
it was the last straw that broke my poor grandmother's 

Partly to increase her income, partly to lose this dreadful 
sense of loneliness, Mrs. Gosse let some of her rooms as 
lodgings. They were taken by two ladies of the name of 
Bird, whose occupation was that of teaching a mysterious 
art known as " Poonah painting " in private, but on their 
printed advertisement described as "Oriental tinting." A 
good many young ladies came to learn ; but the fair pro- 
fessors affected great secrecy in their process, and bound 
their pupils by a solemn pledge to keep the secret of " the 
Indian formulas." This greatly stimulated Mrs. Gosse's 


curiosity, and when, long afterwards, the ladies left, she 
tried to worm out the secrets of the art by pumping the 
servant-maid. All that that poor oracle could tell, however, 
was that she had been frequently sent to the chemist's for 
" million ; " this the united brains of the family translated 
into " vermilion," and it was felt that a considerable 
discovery had been made. 

Immediately after the family had removed into Skinner 
Street, Philip was seized with a serious attack of water on 
the brain, and for a while his life hung on an even balance. 
His subsequent health does not seem to have been 
impaired and through life, in spite of frequent temporary 
disorders, he enjoyed a very tough and elastic constitution. 
He acquired the rudiments of book-learning from a vener- 
able dame, called "Ma'am Sly," who taught babies their 
alphabet in a little alley leading out of Skinner Street. 
To her he went at three years old, to be out of harm's way. 
A little later, he began to suffer from a phenomenon which 
would perhaps not be worth recording if it had not shown, 
in our family, a hereditary recurrence, having tormented 
the early childhood of my grandfather and also of myself. 
My father has thus described it : 

" I suffered when I was about five years old from some 
" strange indescribable dreams, which were repeated 
" quite frequently. It was as if space was occupied with 
"a multitude of concentric circles, the outer ones im- 
" measurably vast, I myself being the common centre. 
" They seemed to revolve and converge upon me, causing 
" a most painful sensation of dread. I do not know that 
" I had heard, and I was too young to have read, the 
''description of Ezekiel's * dreadful wheels.' " 
At the age of four, the instinct of the future naturalist 
was first aroused, as in later years he was fond of repeating, 
by a vision which imprinted itself upon his memory with 


perfect clearness. Being alone in the Springwell Fields, 
from amidst the tall ripening wheat he saw rise, close to 
the footpath, and within a few yards of him, a large white 
grallatorial bird, which he was afterwards sure was the 
great white heron, or else the stork ; both of them, even 
in 1 8 14, very rare English birds. In the next winter, 
between his fourth and fifth years, the child observed, with 
much interest, a robin, sitting day after day, pouring forth 
his cheery song from the corner brick of the summit of the 
parlour-chimney in Skinner Street, right above the yard, 
in which the delighted Philip stood watching him. Of his 
slightly later inclinations towards natural history, a note of 
his own shall speak more fully : — 

" My love for natural history was very early 
"awakened. In Mr. Brown's library was a complete 
" series of Eitcyclopcedia Perthensis, of which father also 
"possessed the first seven volumes. For some time 
" I was accustomed to call this Encyclopcedia ParcntJiesis. 
" Well, the plates of animals in this work, poor as they 
" were, John and I were never tired of studying, and in 
"later years of copying. But at Uncle Gosse's I had 
" the opportunity of looking over the Cyclopcedia 
" Pantologia, which, though a work of inferior value, had 
" much more pretentious figures of animals, nicely 
" coloured. Aunt Bell and Cousin Salter both cultivated 
" natural history, and when I found any specimen that 
" appeared to me curious, or beautiful, or strange, I 
"would take it to Aunt Bell, with confidence that I 
"should learn something of its history from her. I 
"learned something of the metamorphosis of insects 
" from her, though I do not recollect actually rearing any 
"caterpillars except that of the gooseberry or magpie 
" moth {Abraxas grossulariatd). I used not unfrequently 
"to find the pretty ermine moths (both the buff and 


"the white) under the window ledges, and once we 
"found on the doorstep a very large moth with light 
'* brown deflected wings, which Aunt Bell took for her 
"cabinet. I presume it was one of the eggers. A 
"little later I found, at very low springtides, around 
" Poole quays, the common forms of Actinia mesem- 
^' bryaiithemum, but I think no other species of sea- 
" anemone. Aunt Bell taught me their name of 
'^Actinia, and suggested that I should keep them alive 
"in a vessel of sea-water. I recollect finding a very 
"showy specimen of the strawberry variety, round by 
" Oakley's Quay. It was too much trouble to get fresh 
" sea-water, and there was nothing known in those days 
" of aquarian philosophy, so the poor things were kept 
" involved in their mucus until the water stank and they 
"had to be thrown away. I well recollect them stand- 
" ing in jugs of sea-water in the kitchen window." 
To "Aunt Bell," then, belongs the distinction of having 
been the first person to suggest the preservation of living 
animals in aquaria of sea-water. This was Susan, the 
fourth and by far the most intellectual of the children of 
William Gosse ; she was remarkable for her gracious 
sentimental manners, and for a devotion to science, then so 
rare in a woman as to be almost unique. She had been born 
in 1752, had in 1788 married Mr. Bell, a surgeon of Poole, 
and was the mother of Thomas Bell, afterwards an F.R.S. 
and a distinguished zoologist. From this cousin my 
father in later life received much sympathy, but they did 
not meet in the youth of the latter. Thomas Bell was 
eighteen years my father's senior, and left Poole for Guy's 
Hospital in 1 81 3. At home in Skinner Street, the early 
partiality for animals was not welcomed so warmly as by 
Aunt Bell :— 

" Constitution Hill, not quite two miles from Poole, on 


" the Ringwood Road, was the limit of my walking in 
"this direction, but here, scrambling up a gravelly cliff 
" on the left, on a broad expanse of heath, with a fine 
"view on all sides, one day in summer, probably in 
"1819 or '20, we caught some beautiful green lizards, 
" which I incline, from recent evidence, to believe were 
"the true Lacerta viridis of continental Europe, not- 
" withstanding what Thomas Bell says in his * British 
"Reptiles.' William brought them home in his hand- 
" kerchief; but on showing our treasures to mother, 
"she was terribly frightened, supposing them to be 
" venomous. She ordered us to kill the ' nasty things,' 
" which of course we immediately did, though with great 
" regret, on the pebbles in front of the house. 
If Mrs. Gosse lacked a due appreciation of reptiles, she 
was none the less an admirable mother. Her life was by 
no means an easy one. The peculiarity of her husband's 
profession made him absent from home for ten or eleven 
months of every year, and during his prolonged journeys 
all the responsibility fell upon her. The income of the 
family was extremely restricted, yet she contrived all 
through the anxious period of their childhood to bring up 
three sons and one daughter in what they were able to 
look back upon as a " reputable subgentility ; " she took 
care that they were always clean in person and neat in cloth- 
ing, sufficiently fed and decently educated. Mr. Gosse's 
earnings were not very considerable, were so irregular that 
they could not be depended upon, and were to a large 
degree expended by himself in his ceaseless wanderings. 
But his wife had an abhorrence and terror of debt, and 
rarely indeed was the rent not paid on the very day it 
was due. To secure this, the greatest frugality and 
industry were required, and ceaseless exercise of ingenuity. 
Between Mrs. Gosse and her husband there was an ever- 


widening alienation, arising from their wholly different 
habits of thought and life. Each respected the other, but 
the peculiarities and weaknesses of the painter jarred more 
and more on the narrow sympathies and practical energy 
of his wife. It was an unceasing matter of dispute between 
them that my grandfather was always scribbling. For, in 
truth, he was a most voluminous writer, producing volumes 
upon volumes of manuscripts, which he was always en- 
deavouring, and always vainly, to palm off upon the pub- 
lishers. His works were varied enough— tales, dialogues, 
allegories, philosophical treatises, in verse as well as in 
prose. He completed two epic poems, if not more ; The 
English Crew wintering in Spitzbergen and The A ttempts 
of the Cai7iite Giants to re-conqiier Paradise still languish 
in the family possession. Mr. Thomas Gosse is perhaps 
unique as a very voluminous author who never contrived 
to publish a line. My grandmother, soon perceiving that 
all this writing brought no grist to the mill, and even 
interfered with the painting of miniatures, which was 
fairly lucrative, waged incessant and ruthless war against 
it, scrupled not to style it "that cursed writin'," and 
scolded him whenever she found him at it. Many years 
after, when Philip was in the stream of successful literary 
life, and indeed supporting both parents in their old age 
by his pen, the war still continued. Grandfather would 
meekly object, " But there's Philip ; he writes books ; you 
don't find fault with him ! " '' Philip ! no, his books bring 
in bread-and-cheese for you and me! When did your 
writings ever bring in anything .?" And the meek author 
of the Cainite Giants would fall back on his favourite 
ejaculation, "Pooh ! my dear ! " and let the discussion drop. 
Like all prudent housewives, Mrs. Gosse had a strong 
aversion to tramps. Her husband, on the contrary, was 
as easy a prey to them as the great Bishop Butler was, 


and squandered his halfpence on their ill-desert. Once, 
when the family was at dinner, a beggar strolled to the 
door ; the maid came in and told the tale. My grand- 
mother refused — " Nothing for him ! " But grandfather's 
soft compassionate heart stayed the denial. " Oh yes ! 
here's a halfpenny for the poor man." The beggar who, 
through the open parlour-door, had heard all, shouted in, 
as he took the copper, " God bless the man, — but not the 
woman ! " 

Thomas Gosse was a great reader, especially of poetry, 
but his wife had no approval for this exercise either. In 
later years the children often recalled how he would, while 
engaged in finishing a miniature in the back parlour, lay 
down his brush and take up a volume of verse, till, on 
hearing Mrs. Gosse's footstep in the passage, he would 
hastily whip it under his little green-baize desk and set to 
work on the ivory. My father well remembered the bor- 
rowing of Scott's Lady of the Lake and the Lord of the 
Isles in their original quartos, and especially, about 18 16, 
the arrival of a batch of Byron's Tales, then quite new, and 
in particular The Siege of Corinth. These my grandfather 
read and re-read with an evident delight, to the great 
curiosity of his little second son, in whom the literary 
instinct was already faintly awakened ; but the pleasure 
was confined to himself as a matter of course, since Mrs. 
Gosse, from her absolute ignorance of books, could not 
have appreciated or even comprehended it. 

When the miniature-painter was expected home from 
one of his journeys, his little sons, evening after evening in 
summer-time, would go up to the Angel Inn in the Market 
Place, and wait on the pavement till the Salisbury coach 
came rumbling in. The particular day of his coming was 
never announced, and the children would be often disap- 
pointed, till at length one evening they would see the white 


hair, the strange costume, the familiar tall thin figure on 
the box. The dress in which he would reappear was ever 
a subject of speculation. Once he arrived in yellow-topped 
boots and nankeen small-clothes ; another time in a cut- 
away, snuff-coloured coat ; and once in leather breeches. 
Expostulation on these occasions was thrown away ; his 
unfailing resource under my grandmother's sarcasm was, 
" Pooh ! the tailor told me it was proper for me to have ! " 
His copious head of hair had grown pure silver before he 
was fifty, and was extremely becoming. In spite of the 
beautiful and venerable appearance with which nature had 
supplied him, he nourished a guilty hankering after a 
brown wig. My grandmother had long suspected the 
existence of such a piece of goods, but he had never had 
the temerity to produce it at home. At last, however, 
when Philip was thirteen or fourteen years of age, the old 
gentleman came home from his travels daringly adorned 
with the lovely snuff-coloured peruke. My grandmother 
was no palterer. Her first salute was to snatch it off his 
head, and to whip it into the fire, where the possessor was 
fain ruefully to watch it frizzle and consume. 

Mr. Thomas Gosse had collected a considerable mass 
of miscellaneous literary information, and his son after- 
wards often regretted that he so seldom felt drawn to 
impart it to his children. The m.emory of his second son 
would certainly have borne away the greater portion of 
any instruction so given, and as a very extraordinary 
instance of the child's retentive power, I may mention 
the following fact : — My father happened once to relate to 
me a conversation he had with his father about the year 
1823 — that is to say, nearly half a century previously — in 
the course of which Mr. Thomas Gosse had quoted a 
stanza of a poem on the Norman Conquest, in which there 
were many Saxonisms. This stanza my father had never 


heard a second time, had never met with in any book, and 
yet remembered so perfectly that I, happening to recollect 
the source, begged him (in 1869) to write it down. He 
did so literally as follows : — 

" With thilka force lie hit him to the ground, 
And was demaising how to take his life ; 
When from behind he gat a treach'rous wound. 

Given by De Torcy with a stabbing knife. 
O treach'rous Normans ! if such acts ye do, 
The conquer'd may claim victory of you." 

The passage comes from the twenty-eighth stanza of 
Chatterton's Battle of Hastings No. i, and the divergencies 
are so extremely slight and unimportant that they merely 
add to the impression of the extraordinary tenacity of a 
memory which could retain these words from childhood to 
old age after only hearing them once recited. 

In a paper which has been printed since his death,^ my 
father has described the schooling which he enjoyed in 
Poole. After having imbibed a slender stream of tuition 
successively from Ma'am Sly, and from a slightly more 
advanced Ma'am Drew, at the age of eight he joined his 
elder brother at the school of one Charles Sells, whose 
establishment was at that time the best day school in 
Poole. While he was there, Mrs. Gosse "would sometimes, 
for economy, keep us at home a quarter to carry on our 
studies in the back garret by ourselves. We were indus- 
trious, and mother was on the keen look-out, and we did 
not miss much." It was before this, in 181 5, that Philip 
began to form a friendship which lasted, with only one 
momentary interruption, until adolescence and the un- 
timely death of his friend. John Hammond Brown was 
the nephew of a widow lady, a Mrs. Josiah Brown, who 

^ "A Country Day School Seventy Years Ago," in Lougvians Magazine 
for March, 1889. 



lodged in the Skinner Street house in succession to the 
fair professors of the mystery of Poonah-painting. The 
two little boys, who were identical in age, and who shared 
several peculiarities of temperament which were not 
found in any of their playmates, immediately became and 
remained inseparable companions from morning to night. 
My father has recorded, " My tastes were always literary. 
As early as I can recollect, a book had at any time more 
attraction for me than any game of play. And my plays 
were quiet ; I always preferred my single playmate, John 
Brown, to many." In another note I find this statement 
enlarged : — 

" From infancy my tastes were bookish. I can recall 
" myself, when a very tiny boy, stretched at full length 
" on the hearth-rug before the parlour fire, reading with 
" eager delight some childish book ; and this as an 
"ordinary habit. The earliest books I read were, I 
" think, London Cries, The History of Little Jack, and 
" Prince Leboo. Old Mrs. Thompson, our former land- 
" lady, gave me a Sparrman's Travels in South Africa 
^^ and the East Lndies. This became one of my most 
" valued books, yet, owing to my morbid bashfulness, I 
" could not be persuaded to formally thank the old lady 
" for her gift. Robinson Crusoe was an early delight, of 
" course, and Pilgrims Progress another. This latter 
" I knew nearly by heart when I was ten or twelve years 
"old. It was the first part only that we had. 
" Christiania's adventures I did not know until long 
" after, and when I came to read them they never 
"possessed for me the same charm as Christian's. I 
" could not persuade myself that they were genuine." 
The first break in the monotony of the child's life 
occurred when he was nine years old. For seven years 
Mrs. Gosse had not seen her parents, and in order that 


she might go to Titton, it was necessary first of all to 
find a place where she coul3 leave her children. They 
were accordingly boarded at the house of a farmer in the 
village of Canford Parva, a mile from Wimborne. This 
was the first experience of the country, or of anything but 
the tarry quays of Poole, which the children had enjoyed. 
My father's memory of it was very vivid, but it was divided 
between the meadows and the orchards, on one hand, and 
a store of the highly coloured romances, by Miss Porter and 
Lady Morgan, which had just come into fashion, and had 
found their way down into a cupboard of the Dorset farm- 
house. It was here, moreover, that he read Father Clement^ 
and formed, at the tender age of nine, the basis of that 
violent prejudice against the Roman Catholic faith and 
practice which he retained all through life. At Canford 
Magna there was a nunnery, and the precocious little 
Protestant shuddered in passing it, with a vague notion of 
the terrible practices which, no doubt, were the occupation 
of its inmates. 

It is pleasanter, and more agreeably characteristic, to 
note that the event which, above all others, illuminated 
the visit to Canford Parva was the discovery of a king- 
fisher's nest. Just beyond the farm, a short and narrow 
lane ran down to a bend of the river Stour. In this lane 
there was a low gravelly cliff over a horse-pond. From 
a hole in this cliff the child used to watch the brilliant 
little gem fly .out many times a day, and as often return ; 
while, by going a few rods further, the bird could be seen 
coursing to and fro over the breadth of the river, sitting 
on the low horizontal branches, or swooping down for fish. 
The child was already naturalist enough fully to appreciate 
the interest of this incident. The visit to Canford Parva 
was the only stay in a rural English district which my father 
enjoyed until, in middle life, he came to reside in Devonshire. 


Next year, in July, 1820, the boys had another brief 
outing, this time by sea to Svvanage. It was haymaking 
time, and they were playing in the hayfield, whence the 
crop was being carried until pretty late in the evening. It 
was quite dark, when Philip found, moving rapidly through 
the short mown grass, already wet with dew, a half-grown 
conger eel, though the field was a long way, perhaps half 
a mile, from the seashore. The incident was a decidedly 
curious one ; though far from unprecedented, and, in fact, 
mentioned by Yarrell as having occurred within his experi- 
ence. About the end of this same year, Poole, like other 
country towns, was almost universally illuminated on 
occasion of the termination of the trial of Queen Caroline 
in accordance with popular sympathy. The house of the 
Gosses became, on this occasion, the cynosure of Skinner 
Street, for while neighbours were content with a candle 
or two in each window, the Gosse boys adorned their front 
with heads and figures borrowed from out of the paternal 
portfolio— the queen at full length, a dark bandit who did 
duty for " Non mi ricordo" Majocchi, a priest, a scara- 
mouch, and other vaguely effective personalities, handsomely 
illuminated from behind. 

The first incident which could be called a landmark in 
this uneventful career was the departure of the elder 
brother to make his way in the world. Early in 1822, 
William, being fourteen years old, sailed from Poole for 
service in the firm of his uncle, in the port of Carbonear, 
Newfoundland. Philip accompanied him on board the 
ship, returning in the pilot's boat, and William's last act 
was to tie a comforter round his brother's throat just as 
the latter was leaving the ship. This mark of brotherly 
care would bring tears into the younger boy's eyes for 
months afterwards, whenever he thought of it. It 
appears that the departure of William drew more 


attention to Philip, whose curious cleverness in certain un- 
famih'ar directions began from this time to be more and 
more a subject of local talk. In spite of his mother's 
absence of education, she knew the value of book-learning, 
and the aptitude which her second son showed induced 
her to make peculiar sacrifices for his advantage. She 
was determined to give him a chance of acquiring some 
knowledge of Latin, and \\\ January, 1823, she contrived to 
get him admitted into the well-known school at Blandford. 
Of his brief stay in this school not many memorials exist. 
But one anecdote may not be thought too trivial to relate, 
because it illustrates the early development of the boy's 
independent curiosity in all matters connected with 
literature : — 

" One day, when we boys were out walking on the 
" Wimborne Road, and had just come to the opening 
"of Snow's Folly and Hanger Down, an elderly 
" gentleman with a long beard met us, and gathering the 
"elder boys around him, began to question us about 
"learning. He pulled an Eton Latin Grammar from 

"his pocket, and turning to the example ' nee hujus 

" 'existimo, qui me pili a:istimat,' asked us to explain 
" it. Several, in an instant, construed it, correctly enough, 
*' ' Nor do I regard him this, who esteems me not a hair.' 
"'Yes,' said our bearded friend, ' that is the translation, 
"'but I want the meaning; what is meant by this?' 
"All were dumb, till I, whose curiosity had long before 
" been exercised on this very point, having guessed out 
" for myself, unaided, the solution, snapped my fingers at 
"the word 'this,' as I repeated it to him. He immedi- 
" ately approved my answer, and praised me before the 
"others as ' a thinker.' " 

When my father, however, in later years was desired to 
recall the incidents of this part of his boyish life, he was 


apt to recollect more clearly when the narcissus bloomed 
in fields beside the Stour, and where yellow frogs of an 
uncommon marking were to be found, than what boys more 
usually remember. Yet he never failed highly to appreciate 
the education which he received during these months, the 
only classical training which he ever enjoyed. His favourite 
walk was over the race-down to Tarrant Monkton, along 
the course of that primitive telegraph, on the six-shutter 
principle, which had been opened by Government to connect 
London with Weymouth in the course of the Napoleonic 
wars. Of the working of this line of telegraph, a picturesque 
account is given in Mr. Hardy's admirable Dorset novel, 
The Trumpet Major. In summer my father used to 
wander off, across Lord Portman's park, to the bend in the 
river just below Stourpaine, where the "clotes," the water- 
lilies, grow thickest ; and in after years, looking back on 
these childish excursions, he used to repeat with peculiar 
gusto those exquisite lines of William Barnes' — 

" Wi' earms a-spreaden, an' cheaks a-blowen, 
How proud wer I when I vu'st could zwim 
Athirt the pleace where thou bist a-growen, 
Wi' thy long more vrom the bottom dim ; 
While cows, knee-high, O, 
In brook, wer nigh, O, 
Where thou dost float, goolden zummer clote ! " 

The inseparable John Brown had accompanied his friend 
to Blandford, and these two were sufficient unto themselves 
throughout their school-days there. My father, at no time 
of life much given to promiscuous cordiality, does not seem 
to have formed lasting acquaintanceships with any of his 
Blandford schoolfellows. John Brown and he continued 
their zoological studies with unabated ardour, and at this 
time began to make coloured drawings of animals with 
great assiduity. In 1824 Wombwell's travelling me- 


nagerie arrived at Blandford. The two young naturalists 
were excessively interested in a canvas painting on the 
booth, which advertised an animal unknown to either of 
them by name or figure. This was "The Fierce Non- 
descript, never before seen in this Country alive." John 
Brown, to allay his feverish curiosity, contrived overnight 
an interview with the attendant, who confessed that the 
Nondescript was also sometimes known by the less 
mysterious name of the tortoiseshell hyena. This, on 
the following day, was found to be the case, and the boys 
had the delight of seeing the South African hyena or 
Cape hunting-dog {Lycaon pictiis), now familiar to English 
sightseers, but in those days a quadruped never before 
secured by any travelling menagerie. 

Philip was at Blandford until the end of the first 
term of 1824. He acquired during his one full year at 
Blandford a good fundamental knowledge of Latin and 
the elements of Greek, being well grounded in the grammar 
of the former language. His vocabulary in Latin was 
not extensive ; he had read but few authors, and only 
Virgil at all thoroughly, yet he had secured an acquaintance 
with the language which was of great service to him in 
later life, and which he steadily increased until quite recent 
years. Like all boys who are destined to be men of letters, 
he began to versify, and such specimens of his early rhymes 
as have been preserved from his Blandford days show that 
he was beginning to secure facility in the arrangement of 
phrases. The expense of keeping him at boarding-school 
now became more than the household at Poole could 
sustain any longer, and he came home early in his fifteenth 
year. For the next twelvemonth he continued his studies 
as well as he could with none, or with at best very in- 
adequate local help. 

At fifteen Philip Gosse was a broad-shouldered, healthy 


boy, short for his age, with a profusion of straight dark- 
brown hair on his head, and a dark complexion which he 
inherited from his father. He describes himself at that age 
as " a burly lad, tolerably educated, pretty well read, fairly 
well behaved, habitually truthful, modest, obedient, timid, 
shy, studious, ingenuous." It was time for him to begin 
bread-winning, but what was to be done with him ? Poole 
was a town of merchants. His brother William had 
entered life in a merchant's counting-house ; why should 
not he ? His parents had kind and influential friends, and 
one of them spoke to Mr. Garland, the much-respected 
head of a large mercantile house in the Newfoundland trade. 
There was a junior place vacant in his Poole business, and 
he sent permission for Philip to call on him. Accordingly, 
Mrs. Gosse took him to the office, where the kind and genial 
old gentleman readily offered to engage the boy as a junior 
clerk, at a salary of ;^20 per annum to begin with. This, 
of course, would not pay for his food, yet it was better than 
lying idle, and there were hopes that it might lead to some- 
thing better. The proposal was thankfully accepted. 

The counting-house of Messrs. George Garland and 
Sons was a spacious old-fashioned apartment, adapted from 
a sort of corridor in the rambling family mansion. The 
whole of one side, except an area at the doors which was 
shut off by a rail, was occupied by three ample desks, which 
looked down into the back-yard. The first of these desks 
was occupied by Mr. Edward Lisby, chief clerk, a spruce 
little man of about twenty- three. The second was assigned 
to young Gosse, and the third remained untenanted. Each 
clerk was ensconced in a den, since each several desk was 
surrounded by a dark wainscot wall, around the summit of 
which ran a set of turned rails. Mr. Lisby was very silent ; 
the new clerk was very shy ; and a portentous hush, broken 
only by the squeaking of pens, was accustomed to reign in 



that solemn apartment. There was not nearly work enough 
to keep the boy employed, and he enjoyed a great deal of 
leisure. The time he spent at Mr. Garland's office was 
veiy pleasant. The further end of the counting-house was 
occupied by an antique bookcase, in which were many old 
books and a few new ones. There was an extensive series 
of the Gentleman s Magazine, and another of the Town and 
Country Magazine ; and these the boy read with great 
avidity. But, far more important to record, it was in this 
bookcase that Philip discovered a volume which exercised, 
as he has said, " a more powerful fascination upon me than 
anything which I had ever read." This was the first 
edition of Byron's Lara, the issue of 18 14, with Roger's 
Jacqueline printed at the end of it. To the close of his 
days my father used to avow, with rising heat, that it was 
most impertinent of Rogers to pour out his warm water by 
the side of Byron's wine. Lara he had till now, in 1825, 
never even heard of, but as he read and re-read, devouring 
the romantic poem with an absorbing interest which 
bbliterated the world about him, almost the entire book 
imprinted itself upon his memory, and remained there 
indelibly impressed. The reading of Lara, he says, " was 
an era to me ; for it was the dawning of Poetry on my 
imagination. It appeared to me that I had acquired a new 
sense. Before this I had, of course, read some poetry, 
many standard pieces of the eighteenth century, including 
something of Covvper, Thomson, and Shenstone ; but 
Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden I knew only by the 
extracts in my school-books, and of the modern sensational 
school nothing at all." About the same time, the two 
volumes of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads came into his 
hands, and caused him great pleasure, tame, however, it must 
be confessed, in comparison with his ecstatic enjoyment of 
Byron's tale. 


There was in the office bookcase a copy of Scarron's 
Roman Comiqtie in English, and the broad humour of this 
farcical classic delighted the boy amazingly, although its 
coarseness a little shocked him. He enjoyed it infinitely 
more than Don Qnixoie, which he had read a short time 
before. " Perhaps my boyish mind," he says, " could not 
appreciate the polished wit and satire of Cervantes so well 
as the broad grins and buffoonery of Scarron." But Don 
Quixote was a book to which he retained through life an 
inexplicable aversion. Another novel in the office book- 
case was the \'in\x\oxX.-d\ Joseph Andrezvs, with which he was 
so greatly charmed that, on a second perusal, he could not 
refrain from taking it home to read aloud in the evenings 
for the delectation of his mother and his sister. The 
rough expressions which he had not observed as he read 
the book to himself, however, became painfully patent 
when propounded openly by the fireside, and he found, 
what others have discovered before and since, "dxdX Joseph 
Afzdrezvs, noble as it is, is one of the male children of the 
Muses ; he had to make an excuse and leave the tale half 
told. Among other literary stores laid up in this delight- 
ful bookcase were the " Peter Porcupine " pamphlets of 
William Cobbett, and these, when everything else was 
exhausted, were waded through for lack of better reading 
in many unoccupied hours. 

John Brown remained at school in Blandford until mid- 
summer, 1825, when the friends were once more reunited 
in Poole. He was presently put into a counting-house on 
the Quay, and after ofhce-hours, which closed at five in 
each case, the two lads were always together. They read 
and studied science together, tried their hands at music, 
and stained their clothes with chemicals, on one occasion 
coming near to a public scandal with the unparalleled 
success of an artificial volcano. A large room at the top 


of the house now occupied by John Brown's mother they 
turned into a studio and workroom. John was me- 
chanical, PhiHp incHncd to the arts, both were equally 
bookish. One experiment of theirs mildly foreshadowed 
a famous invention of our own day. Philip contrived to 
make an acoustic tube of the rain-spout that led from a 
gutter within the parapet of his mother's house all down 
the front of the house to the street, and into this sort of 
speaking-tube, the speaker being concealed close beneath the 
roof, he used to breathe prophetic utterances, which rose 
as if from the pavement, to the alarm of mystified passers- 
by. But the serious amusement or main studious enter- 
tainment of the boys was zoology. From every available 
source they added to their knowledge of natural history, 
eagerly reading up for the dimensions, colours, postures, 
and habits generally of the principal quadrupeds and birds. 
This, with incessant copying of cuts and plates of animals, 
could not fail to give them both a solid substratum of 
zoological knowledge. 

At sixteen they were children still, unsophisticated, 

bashful, and ignorant of the world, far more interested in 

such a show as Sir Ashton Lever's travelling exhibition 

of natural history than in any public events or local 

politics. It was the collection which I have just mentioned 

which first awakened in Philip Gosse one of the master 

passions of his life, a love of exotic lepidoptera. The 

Lever Museum contained one of the grand silver-blue 

butterflies of South America,— it was probably Morpho 

Menelaus — and this created an extraordinary longing in 

the boy's heart to go out and capture such imperial 

creatures for himself It was outside this show that was 

exhibited the portrait of a mermaid, " radiant in feminine 

loveliness and piscine scaliness." But the boy had studied 

his zoology with far too much care to be deceived for one 


moment by the real object, a shrivelled and blackened 
little thing composed by the ingenuity of some rascally 
Japanese fisherman out of the head and shoulders of a 
monkey and the body and tail of a salmon. It was in the 
year 1826 that Philip made his first debitt in the world of 
letters, in a very humble way. He composed a little 
article on "The Mouse a Lover of Music," and sent it to 
the editor of the Yoiit/is Magazine. It was usual, in those 
days, to get the local M.P., so far as his good nature ex- 
tended, to frank your letters, and the boy appeared early 
at the door of Mr. Lester, the member for Poole. He 
had addressed the envelope to the publishers, "Messrs. 
Hamilton, Adams, and Co. ; " the footman, as he took it 
in, misread the " Messrs." for " Miss," and benevolently 
smiling, rallied the lad on its being " for his young lady." 
The member franked it, however, and in due time, to the 
inexpressible joy of its author, "The Mouse a Lover of 
Music " appeared, signed <^l\lit, in the pages of the YoittJis 

One day, in 1826, he had a narrow escape from death 
by drowning. Standing at the edge of the quay just 
behind his employers' business premises, he suddenly 
slipped down between the quay and one of Garlands' 
brigs which was anchored there. By an extraordinary 
good fortune he fell astride a spar which happened to be 
lashed alongside at that point, acting as a " fender," and 
he w^as hoisted up again, jarred and terrified, but unhurt, 
having escaped the death of a rat by a mere hand-breadth. 
A further stage in his imaginative susceptibility was marked 
this year by his enjoyment of Campbell's Last Man, then 
recently published in the New MontJily Magazine. He 
thought it very noble, as indeed it is, but in making copies 
of it for his friends he must needs, an infant Bentley, be 


tampering with the text, and, in his remarkable revision, 
a line — 

"The aggregate of woe," 

takes the place of Campbell's (truly rather feeble) 

"That shall no longer flow ! " 

Employment at the Garlands' office came to a natural 
end towards the close of 1826, when they found they had 
no further use for a junior clerk. Mrs. Gosse became 
anxious once more, and was constantly urging Philip to 
" show himself about on the Quay," that the sight of him 
might keep him in the mind of mercantile acquaintances. 
But he had no liking for the babel of the Quay, and after 
going thither he used immediately to take himself off over 
the ferry to Ham, where he would sit for hours in one of 
the vessels building in the shipwrights' yards, reading 
some book which he had brought in his pocket. Friends, 
however, would appear to have noticed him as he strolled 
across, or else their memories needed no such refreshing, 
for at length, as the spring of 1827 came on, the firm of 
Messrs. Harrison, Slade, and Co. offered the lad employ- 
ment as a clerk in their counting-house at the port of 
Carbonear, in Newfoundland. He dreaded expatriation, 
and this proposal did not meet with his wishes ; his 
mother, however, promptly vetoed all objection on his 
part, and he presently signed an agreement to go out for 
six years to the American counting-house, on a very small 
salary. On Sunday morning, April 22, 1827, as the bells 
were ringing the people of Poole to church, having a 
few days before completed his seventeenth year, Philip 
Gosse, with a very heavy heart, slipped down the harbour 
in a boat and climbed on board the brig Carbonear^ which 
was lying at Stakes ready to get under way for New- 


1827, 1828. 

THE brig Carhonear, on which Philip Gosse sailed 
away for the New World, was a poor tub of a craft. 
Her sailing powers were limited ; the voyagers suffered 
from a large proportion of westerly winds ; and the voyage 
extended over not fewer than forty-six days. The preval- 
ence of fine warm weather, however, the pleasant society 
on board, together with the rare faculty of observation which 
the boy possessed, and could now exercise on so novel a 
field as the ocean, prevented his feeling the inordinate 
length of the voyage to be at all tedious. Beside the 
captain and mate, there were three other passengers — Luke 
Thomas, a lad two years younger than Gosse ; a Mr. 
Phippard, sailmaker to the firm ; and Mr. Oehlenschlager, a 
German gentleman from Hamburg, now going out to estab- 
lish a mercantile connection in St. John's. The grown-up 
people behaved with great cordiality to the two lads, 
and they formed a lively party around the cabin-table. 
Philip's sense of depression at parting from home was 
very transient. As soon as he grew accustomed to the 
sickening motion of the sea, his pleasures began. He 
soon learned to mount the rigging, and to take up a 
pleasant station in the maintop, delighting to sit and read 
there, in the warm sunshine, with all the turmoil of the 


ship far below him. Of course, the first time that he 
essayed this feat he had to pay his footing, for one of the 
sailors swarmed up after him, and tied his legs with an 
end of spun-yarn in the rigging, until he promised to stand 
treat with a quart of rum. 

He soon found that he could write and even draw 
without any difficulty on board, in fair weather ; and so he 
went on with the literary work which had beguiled his 
young ambition at Poole, a volume of Quadrupeds, copied 
and described from various books in his possession. This 
was good practice, though not in any sense an original 
exercise ; he kept hard at it, however, and it was finished 
\w time to be sent home on the first returning vessel from 
Carbonear. More important, as a work of self-education 
for the future naturalist, was a copious journal kept for 
the delectation of the loved ones at home, mainly devoted 
to the birds and animals seen or conjectured on the 
voyage, and illustrated by coloured drawings of everything 
that seemed paintable, such as whales spouting ; porpoises 
leaping and plunging ; petrels, boatswain-birds, " hog- 
downs," and other birds ; Portuguese men-o'-war (Physalid)^ 
of which curious and gorgeous beings they encountered 
several ; icebergs ; Cape St. Francis from seaward, and 
the like. All this, though the adventures which were 
chronicled were small and trite, was excellent exercise 
both for pencil and pen. It was while on the Atlantic 
that the lad found himself, almost suddenly, to have 
acquired the art of finishing a drawing — of " working-up," 
as it was termed in the profession of miniature-painting. 

During this voyage, Philip Gosse scrupulously obeyed 
what had been his mother's final injunction, that he should 
read his Bible daily. No one else in the ship had culti- 
vated the same habit, and, as there was no opportunity 
for retirement, and as the lad was obliged to brave 


publicity, it was not altogether easy to persevere. His 
young shipmate, Luke Thomas, looked upon the practice 
with stern disapproval, and took an opportunity of advising 
him "to get rid of that sort of thing, as that wouldn't do 
for Newfoundland." At no period of his life, however, was 
my father affected in the slightest degree by considera- 
tions of this sort. His conscience was a law to him, and 
a law that he was prepared to obey in face of an army 
of ridicule drawn up in line of battle. At this time, he 
was far from having accepted the vigorous forms of reli- 
gious belief which he adopted later on. He was not, as he 
would afterwards have put it, "converted;" he was as other 
light-hearted boys are, but with the addition of an inflexible 
determination to do what was right, and in particular what 
he had promised to carry out, however unpleasant the 
performance might prove to be.» This was a personal 
characteristic with him, and one which will be found to 
have coloured his whole career. In an age which has 
mainly valued and cultivated breadth of religious feeling, 
he was almost physiologically predisposed to depth, even 
at the risk of narrowness. 

At length, on the morning of Wednesday, June 6, 1827, 
a long line of dim blue, ending in a point, was visible on 
the western horizon, — Newfoundland apparent at last, in 
the form of Cape St. Francis, the eastern boundary of 
Conception Bay, to which the brig was bound. All that 
day the promontory continued to occupy the same position, 
for there was very little wind. A noble iceberg of vast 
dimensions was also in view; and this, while they were 
gazing at it, majestically shifted its balance, and turned 
about one-third over, causing an immense turmoil of water 
and a swell that was felt for a long time afterwards. To 
the impatient and imaginative lad, fretting for the con- 
quest of a new continent, this iceberg seemed no inappro- 


priate sentinel, to guard the approach to those cold shores. 
Next morning Cape St. Francis lay behind them, and the 
ship was bowling along with a fair breeze into the ample 
and beautiful Bay of Conception. The town of Carbo- 
near (the third in size in the colony, being exceeded only 
by St. John's and by Harbour Grace) lay near the head 
of the long gulf. Philip was agreeably surprised by the 
first sight of the town from on board. It was a much 
more considerable place than he had expected to find. 
The number, respectability, and continuity of the houses ; 
the crowd of shipping, including a fleet of about seventy 
schooners just about to start for Labrador ; the small 
boats hurrying to and fro ; the multitude of cries at sea 
and movement on the shore ; — all these made up a scene 
very different from the desolation which, in his uninformed 
fancy, the lad had imagined of Newfoundland. It was 
early summer, too ; fields and gardens and potato-patches 
mapped out the sides of the hills which formed an amphi- 
theatre around the long lake-like harbour, and verdure 
was smiling everywhere up to the very edge of the 
universal dark environment of pine woods. 

Among- the first of those who came out in boats to 
welcome the new-coming ship from England was William 
Gosse, who, in his fraternal anxiety, had kindly drawn up 
a code of regulations for his brother's behaviour in matters 
of deportment and etiquette. Philip was unsophisticated 
as well as unaffected ; he took this odd attention in the 
spirit in which it was tendered, and endeavoured 
scrupulously to observe the judicious precepts of his 
nineteen years old brother. The presence of the Labrador 
fleet was disturbing, and until these vessels were gone, he 
was put, for a week or two, under the storekeeper, Mr. 
Apsey. But as soon as the Labrador men had sailed 
away, he took up his permanent place in the counting- 



house. This office was pleasantly situated in the midst of 
a large garden, in front of the dwelling-house of the firm, 
the resident member of which was a Mr. Elson. Of the 
four clerks, the third was William Charles St. John, a 
lad of about twenty years of age, a native of the neigh- 
bouring town of Harbour Grace, where his parents resided. 
His father, Mr. Oliver St. John, belonged to a Protestant 
Tipperary family, which claimed relationship alike with 
Cromwell and with Lord Bolingbroke. As the young St. 
John was destined for many years to be my father's most 
intimate friend, I will now transcribe his portrait as I find 
it recorded among my father's notes : — 

" Charley was a youth of manly height, with features 
" of the Grecian type, exquisitely chiselled, formed in a 
"very aristocratic mould, to which an aquiline nose of 
"unusual dimensions gave character. A mouth of 
" feminine smallness ; a finely cut chin ; a lofty forehead ; 
" dark eyes and hair, the latter copious, and rather 
'' crisp than lank, completed the physiognomy of my 
" new acquaintance, which was continually animated 
" and lighted up by arch smiles, and by the frolic wit 
"and merry repartee which his prolific brain was 
" constantly forging. I saw in him a new type of 
" character ; he was a fair sample of the Irish youth at 
" his best. Sarcastic and keen, ready in reply, un- 
" abashed, prompt to throw back a Roland for every 
" Oliver, full of fun and frolic, as ready at a practical as 
" at a verbal joke, possessing a strong perception of the 
" ludicrous side of everything, cool and self-possessed, 
"already a well-furnished man of the world, St. John 
" presented as great a contrast as can well be imagined 
" to me. I was thoroughly a greenhorn ; fresh from my 
" Puritan home and companionships ; utterly ignorant of 
" the world ; raw, awkward, and unsophisticated ; simple 


**in countenance as unsuspicious in mind; — the very 
" quaintness of the costume in which I had been sent 
" forth from the parental nest told what a yokel I was. 
" A surtout coat of snuff-brown hue, reaching to my 
" ankles, and made out of a worn great-coat of my 
" uncle Gosse's which had been given to mother, 
"enveloped my somewhat sturdy body ; for I was 

" * Totus, teres, atque rotundas ;' 
" while my intellectual region rejoiced in the protection 
" of a white hat (forsooth !) somewhat battered in sides 
" and crown, and manifestly the worse for wear. Such 
" was I in outward guise : the idea of a witticism or 
" repartee, made hot on the occasion, had never entered 
"my noddle; but then, had I not in my chest those 
" manuscript pages of stale jests, which I had toilfully 
" copied out of the Joe Miller, with which I expected to 
" take captive the laugh of the office ? What wonder 
" that I became immediately the butt of so keen an 
" archer as St. John, the inviting centre about which the 
"flashes of his sparkling wit constantly coruscated 
" until at length, by the very inhalation of the 
"atmosphere, I learned gradually to play the same 
" game, and to pay him back with his own weapons } 

" Intellectually I think we were pretty much on a 
" par. We were both readers, but possibly I had read 
" more books than he ; I had learned Latin at school, he 
" French ; my slight knowledge of natural history was 
" balanced by his acquaintance with chemistry, mainly 
" acquired from Parkes's Chemical Catechism, which I 
" had been used to see at John Brown's. But then he 
"was a poet; at least, he had the art of versification, 
" which, however, he chiefly exercised in semi-doggerel 
" Hudibrastic satirical pieces. A poem of his was extant 
" when I came, on the Methodist Missionary Meeting 


"of the preceding- autumn — a merry lampoon on the 
" preachers, and most of the people of the place, on the 
" occasion of their gathering. It was very smart and 
"telling, and entertained us greatly. His favourite poet 
" was Pope, whose Essay on Man he was continually 
" citing, perhaps because it was dedicated to St. John, its 
" opening lines running — 

" * Awake, my St. John, leave all meaner things 
To low ambition, and the pride of Kings.' 

"The philosophy of this poem, such as it is, formed 
" another of our staple subjects of discussion. His mode 
" of thinking was somewhat loose, dashy, indefinite ; 
" mine, on the other hand, precise, microscopic, according 
"to rule. Withal, he was lithe and active in bodily 
" exercises, a skilful and much-admired skater, a 
" vigorous swimmer, a good leaper and runner. He 
" possessed, too, an inexhaustible fund of good humour ; 
" was a jovial boon-companion on occasion ; and, to 
" crown all, a great favourite with the ladies, being hand- 
" some, gallant, attentive, with a fluent flattering tongue, 
" ready wit, and a good store of frivolous conversation, 
"the small-talk which is the spice of life and means 

William Charles St. John and Philip Henry Gosse not 
only became knit in a warm friendship which lasted until 
circumstances drew them apart, but the former had very 
much to do in moulding the far from susceptible mind of 
the latter. At least, their two minds grew very steadily 
together, in the daily, hourly, momentary companionship of 
several years of budding manhood. The two friends walked 
together, read together, discussed and disputed together, 
on every imaginable subject ; in the office they joked 
together, and spent their spare moments in a never-ending 
series of intellectual combats, so that the counting-house 


became the arena of constant mental gladiatorship between 
these ardent and vigorous young intelligences. " Whatever 
of humour or wit in conversation I possess," my father has 
written ; " whatever of logical precision of thought ; what- 
ever of readiness of speech or power in debate, I largely 
owe to those years of merry companionship." St. John 
went to Boston, U.S.A., where he died on March 13, 


The establishment of Mr. Elson in Carbonear was com- 
posed of two contiguous buildings — the upper house, where 
the family resided, and where the head of the firm slept ; 
and the lower house, where all the clerks slept and boarded, 
and where Mr. Elson took his meals with them, spending 
the day from breakfast-time till about eleven o'clock at 
night. The lower house, a large but low structure of 
wood, was old and ramshackled ; the only ornament on its 
rude colonial front, opposite the counting-house, was an 
antique sundial. Immediately before this facade, and 
running along its entire extent, w^as a raised platform of 
boards, known as "the gallery," so old and rotten that in 
a year or two it was cleared away and replaced by a walk 
of hard gravel. On this platform it was usual for the 
officials to assemble, as well as all those captains of ships 
in port who were free of Mr. Elson's table, at one o'clock, 
when a bell aloft was rung as the signal for dinner. Here 
they would form in knots, conversing, until the man-cook 
appeared at the door and announced that Mr. Elson was 
served. The bedrooms of the clerks were barns of places, 
destitute of carpet or curtain, the unpainted deal of the 
walls and floors being black with age. Whatever bedding 
was required was supplied from the shop, without any 
supervision from Mr. Elson, and the young fellows took 
care to sleep warm enough. They made their own beds, 
and did for themselves whatever service was needed, 


sweeping each the floor of his room, and performing his 
ablutions at a sink at the end of the gallery. 

For Sundays there were three places of religious 
assembly : firstly, the Roman Catholic chapel, attended by 
the great mass of the working population, as also by Mrs. 
Elson and her daughters ; secondly, the Established Church, 
a small edifice ministered to by the Rev. John Burt, who 
came over for the purpose from his own parish of Harbour 
Grace, of which he was the incumbent ; and, thirdly, the 
Methodist chapel, which rivalled the Catholic chapel in the 
number of its attendants. Mr. Elson was a Freethinker, 
and attended no religious service. On the first Sunday 
afternoon at Carbonear, Philip Gosse, feeling much at a loss 
for occupation, went boldly into the parlour and asked 
Mr. Elson to lend him a book. He was very kind, entered 
into conversation with the lad regarding recent literature, 
and lent him at once two works which were still fresh to the 
world of readers, The Fortttnes of Nigel 3,nd the first series 
of the collected Essays of Elia. As at home in England, 
so even in Newfoundland, in that fortunate age for authors, 
there was a book-club in every town of any consequence. 
Of the Carbonear book-club Mr. Elson was the president 
and librarian, and the books were kept in a closet to which 
the clerks, most of whom were members of the club, had 
free access at breakfast-time and on Sundays. New books 
were bought but once a year, when a solemn meeting of 
members was held in the parlour, and the purchase of 
volumes was voted. The choice was mainly left to Mr. 
Elson himself. Of course there was the usual large pro- 
portion of novels, of which Gosse became a great devourer. 
Most of Scott's, Bulwer's, Cooper's, Gait's, and the O'Hara 
series were to be found at Carbonear within a year of their 
publication in London. Biography, poetry, travels, and 
even science were very fairly represented, and the basis of 


a sound knowledge of contemporary literature could be, 
and was, formed in this remote harbour of Newfoundland. 
It would be interesting to know whether, in the course of 
sixty years, the colonial standard of civilization has risen 
or fallen, and whether the clerks of the Carbonear of to-day 
know their Stevenson and their Haggard as well as my 
father and his colleagues knew their Bulwer and their 
Banim. At this point I may quote an amusing letter from 
the late Mr. W. C. St. John to my father, dated May 25, 
1868, but referring to events of the year 1827 — 

" One of my first experiences with the ' old white hat ' 
"was an evening's walk on that most delectable of all 
" turnpikes, Carbonear beach, when the surf-worn stones 
"spread themselves out so invitingly to one, like your- 
" self, but recently recovered from rheumatism in the 
"feet. Bad as is my memory, I remember the heads of 
" our confabulation. You told me about your school 
"curriculum under one Charles Henry Sells (I think), 
" and of a further polishing-off under a Unitarian minis- 
"ter. You had begun the French, and had made some 
" considerable progress in Latin. As I knew nothing 
" of the latter myself, I felt flattered that I should have 
" a classical scholar for my companion, and wasn't at all 
" unwilling that the street passengers should hear us 
''conversing in an unknown tongue. So I asked you to 
" repeat some Latin verses, which you did very readily, 
*' ever and anon, however, stopping to rub your toe or 
" ankle, as those outlying members would receive damage 
" from the treacherous stones. Your favourite poet 
" appeared to be Virgil ; and I hear you now going 
" measuredly and with admirable oi^e rotundo and em- 
"phasis over the old Roman's * Bucolic' — 

*' ' Sicelides Musce, paullo majora canamus : 

Non cm [oh ! psha ! my toe ! hop, hop, hop] 


Non omnes arbusta [ankle turns : limp, limp] 

Non omnes arbusta juvant, hurail [psha !] 

humilesque myricae ; 

Si canimus silvas, silv?e sint Consule dignse !' 

"The last line was brought out with great oratorical 
"power, as being 'eminently beautiful;' to which I 
" assented zvithout hesitation — requesting you, over and 
" over, to repeat it, perhaps half a dozen times before we 
" reached the bridge ; and always with an eye to have 
"you spouting the incomprehensible language just as 
" somebody — it might be only Johnny Dunn the cooper 
" — was passing. But the naughty beach-stones sadly 
" disturbed my calculations, and the audience was sure 
" to pass in the midst of a parenthesis ; thereby render- 
"ing the limping sufferer anything but an object of envy 
" or admiration. I have picked up a little Latin since ; 
" and many and many a time have those lines recurred 
" to me, — with all their concomitants of ' psha ! O dear ! ' 
"etc., etc., as well as the glowing expression of counte- 
" nance at the inimitable — 

" * . . . silvse sint Consule dignae.' 

" On this memorable occasion you discovered that I 
" knew a little about French, and had dabbled somewhat 
" in chemistry, and you were prepared to assure Pack's 
" chaps that I wasn't such an ignoramus as they took 
" me to be.* I think it was this evening that, on our 
" return to our chambers, you produced a voluminous 
"compilation of Joe Miller anecdotes in manuscript, 
" many of which you read to me, taking care to look 
" grave on reaching tJie point, lest it should be thought 
" (as I took it) that you knew no better than to laugh 
"at your own (compiled) jokes ! " 

* " The fact was ' Pack's chaps ' were very much in awe of my friend's wit 
and powers of sarcasm. For his candle was not hid under a bushel." 


Another walk which Gossc took with St. John at a very 
early period may be recalled, because it gave occasion for 
one of those burlesque poems of the latter which, if not 
quite up to the highest level, was quite good enough to 
gain for " Charley " St. John a local reputation as a 
dangerously gifted poet. The laugh was raised at Gosse's 
expense, and it is the butt himself who has preserved the 
ditty. On one of those June evenings the two friends, 
having sauntered through the long town until they had 
passed the contiguous houses, had protracted their ramble 
to the very lonely lane near Burnt Head, known as Rocky 
Drong. This " drong," or lane, was reputed to be haunted. 
It was now ten o'clock at night, when, turning round in 
this desolate and gloomy locality, Gosse saw ahead what 
seemed a dim female figure in white, afterwards igno- 
miniously identified as " one of Dicky the Bird's nieces 
coming up from the * landwash ' with a * turn ' of sand 
for her mother's kitchen floor." The young naturalist 
from Poole endured and quite failed to conceal a paroxysm 
of terror, and got home in an exhausted condition. Two 
days afterwards, Charley St. John produced at the office 
a piece of foolscap, from which he proceeded to read to a 
delighted audience the following doggerel effusion, the only 
surviving text of which is, I regret to say, imperfect : — 

. . . The other night 
The moon it shone, not very bright, 
When lo ! in Rocky Dro7ig appear 'd 
A form that made poor GossE afeard. 
It seem'd to wear a woman's clothes, 
A horse's head, a buck-goat's nose ; 
And with a deep and hollow moan, 
It thus addressed the Latin drone — 
" Young Man, I'm happy for to say 
That long in Poole you did not stay ; 
For to your house that very night, 
The Devil claim'd you as his right. 


A Parson who was right at hand, 

Told him you'd gone to Newfoundland." 

" Indeed ! " says Bell/ " when did he go ? 

For he's deserted, you must know. 

But morrow-morning I shall post 

On every wall his bloody ghost, 

And, in a fiery placard, speak 

The following words, in broken Greek :; — 

' No f ice. 

* Deserted from old Beelzebub, 

* Two nights ago, Phil Gosse, my cub. 

* Had on, when left, an old white hat, 

* A brown surtout, choke full of fat, 

* A [half-line missing], and in his box 

* Were two old books by Doctor Watts, 

* One sermon by Durant, and^ dang 'ee, 

* A book of riddles from his granny. 
' Whoever harbours this my man, 

' Let him beware ! his hide I'll tan ! ' " 

One of the public characteristics of Newfoundland life 
of which Gosse became earliest aware was the growing 
jealousy of the Irish element in the population. The lad 
quickly took the tone of the Saxon and purely colonial 
minority among whom he had been thrown. A special 
nuisance of the town of Carbonear was the abundance of 
mongrel curs in the streets ; and one day, when young 
Gosse had strolled down to Harbour Rock (an elevated 
spot about half-way down the port, which formed a very 
general resort as a terminus to a moderate walk), in com- 
pany with his brother William, two or three of the ships' 
captains, and some clerks of various firms, he committed 
an indiscretion which left a strong impression on his 
memory. One of his companions was a very gentleman- 
like young fellow, called Moore, book-keeper to one of the 

^ Beelzebub. 


smaller firms. A captain asked Gossc how he liked New- 
foundland ; safe, as he thought, with none but colonists, he 
replied smartly, "I see little in it, except do.c^s and 
Irishmen." The silence that followed, where he had ex- 
pected approving laughter, told him that something was 
wrong. At length his brother said, "Do you not know 
that Mr. Moore is an Irishman .? " Philip Gosse was imme- 
diately extremely abashed ; but Moore replied, with great 
good humour, "There's no offence; I am an Ulstcrman, 
and love the Papist Irish no better than the rest of you." 
The southern Irish were not slow, of course, to observe the 
feeling of which this conversation was an example. They 
immensely preponderated in numbers, and they already 
formed an anti-English party in Newfoundland, the rancour 
of which was an inconvenience, if not a danger to the 
colony. My father says, in one of his manuscript notes — 
"There existed in Newfoundland in 1827, among the 
"Protestant population of the island, an habitual dread 
"of the Irish as a class, which was more oppressively 
" felt than openly expressed, and there was customary 
"an habitual caution in conversation, to avoid any 
" unguarded expression which might be laid hold of by 
"their jealous enmity. It was very largely this dread 
"which impelled me to forsake Newfoundland, as a 
"residence, in 1835; and t recollect saying to my 
" friends the Jaqueses, ' that when we got to Canada, we 
" ' might ciimb to the top of the tallest tree in the forest, 
" * and shout " Irishman ! " at the top of our voice, without 
" ' fear.' " 

Gosse's first summer in Newfoundland was one of much 
freedom. Mr. Elson, not having seen his English partners 
for several years, took a holiday in the mother-country, 
and Newall, the easy-going book-keeper, ruled at Carbonear 
as his locum tenens. Besides this, the summer was always 


a light time. The fleet of schooners sailed for Labrador 
in the middle of June, and from that time till the end of 
October, when the crews had to be paid off and all accounts 
settled, there was very little to be done in the counting- 
house. Fortunately the brief summer of Newfoundland is 
a very delightful one. Of the winter pleasures of Carbonear 
I may well permit my father to speak for himself, nor 
interrupt the unaffected chronicle of his earliest loves : — 
" Parties were frequent, but they were almost always 
" ' balls.' The clerks of the different mercantile firms, 
"were of course in demand, as being almost the only 
"young chaps with the least pretensions to a genteel 
" appearance. Jane Elson one day sent me a note, inviting 
"me to a forthcoming 'ball.' I had never danced in 
"my life, and so was compelled to decline. Her note 
" began, ' Dear Henry ; ' and I thought it was the proper 
"thing, in replying, to begin mine with 'Dear Jane.' 
" Having my note in my pocket, I gave it to her, as 
" I met her and Mary in the lane, just below the plat- 
"form. Lush, who had seen the action, benevolently 
"took me aside, and told me that 'it was not etiquette, 
"*to write a note to a lady, and deliver it myself;' at 
" which I again felt much ashamed. This ignorance of 
" the art of dancing caused me to refuse all the parties, 
" and very much isolated me from the female society of 
" the place. I do not doubt that this was really very 
" much for my good, and preserved me from a good deal 
" of frivolity ; but I rebelled in spirit at it, and mur- 
" mured at the * Puritan prejudices ' of my parents, which 
"had not allowed me to be taught the elegant accom- 
" plishment, which every Irish lad and girl acquires, as it 
" were, instinctively. 1 supposed it was absolutely im- 
" possible to join these parties without having been 
" taught ; though, in truth, such movements as sufficed 


" for those simple hops would have been readily ac- 
*' quired in an evening or two's observation, under the 
"willing tuition of any of the merry girls. William, 
"indeed, as I afterwards found, went to them, and ac- 
" quitted \\\m?^QM commc il faut ; though he had no more 
*' learned than I had. However, I believe I had some- 
"what of the 'Puritan prejudice' myself; at least, 
"conscience was uneasy on the point, as I had been 
"used to hear balls classed with the theatre. 

"My familiarities with the Elsons never proceeded 
"farther than a making of childish signals with my 
"candle at night. My bedroom window looked across 
"the meadow towards the Upper House, in front of 
"which was the bedroom window of the girls. We 
" used to signal to each other, holding the candle in the 
"various panes of the window, in turn, in response to 
" each other. There was no ulterior meaning attached 
"to the movements; it was mere child's play. They 
"certainly began it, for I am sure I should not have 
"ventured on such a liberty myself Apsey, however, 
" took greater freedoms, for if he were on the platform 
" waiting for dinner, when they happened to be coming 
" down the meadows to go into the town, he would way- 
" lay them at the end of the platform (which they were 
"obliged to cross) and not suffer them to pass, till each 
" had paid him the toll of a kiss. It was readily yielded ; 
"and though they affected to frown, and said, *Mr. 
" ' Apsey is such a tease,' they were evidently not much 
"discomposed, and bore him no malice, being of a for- 
" giving disposition. The toll was taken with full 
"publicity, in presence of us all, some of whom envied 
"him his impudence and success. 

" In truth, Jane Elson became the unconscious object 
" of my first boyish love. Before the autumn of this 


"first season had yielded to winter, I loved Jane with 
"a deep and passionate love, — all the deeper because I 
" kept the secret close locked in my own bosom. 

'' ' He never told his love ; 
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, 
Feed on his damask cheek.' 

" The chaps in the office used to rally me about Mary, 
" who was indeed much the prettier and more vivacious 
"of the two, and I never undeceived them; but Jane 
"was my flame. One night I awoke from a dream, in 
" which she had appeared endowed with a beauty quite 
" unearthly, and as it were angelic ; so utterly unde- 
"scribable, and indeed inconceivable, that on waking 
" I could only recall the general impression, every effort 
"to reproduce the details of her beauty being vain. 
" They were not so much gone from memory, as from 
"the possibility of imagining. There was in truth no 
"great resemblance in the radiant vision to Jane's 
"homely face and person ; and yet I intuitively knew it 
" to be her. 

" My unconquerable bashfulness precluded my ever 
"hinting my love to Jane. A year or two afterwards, 
" I was at a ' ball ' at Newell's, the only one which I ever 
"attended, and the Elson girls were there. It was cus- 
"tomary for the fellows each to escort a lady home: 
" I asked Jane to allow me the honour. She took my 
"arm; and there, under the moon, we walked for full 
"half a mile, and not a word — literally, not a single 
" word — broke the awful silence ! I felt the awkward- 
" ness most painfully ; but the more I sought something 
"to say, the more my tongue seemed tied to the roof of 
" my mouth. 

" This boyish passion gradually wore out : I think all 
"traces of it had ceased long before I visited England 


"in 1832. About a year after that Jane married a 
"young merchant of St. John's, named Wood; and 
"Mary accepted one of the small merchants of Car- 
"bonear, one Tom Gamble, in June, 1836." 
What society Carbonear possessed was mainly to be 
met with in the houses of the planters, several of whom 
were wealthy and hospitable. The name "planter" needs 
explanation. It had no connection with the cultivation of 
the soil, although doubtless inherited from colonies where 
it had that meaning. In Newfoundland the word de- 
signated a man who owned a schooner, in which he pro- 
secuted one or both of the two fisheries of the colony, 
that for seals in spring and that for cod in winter. In 
Carbonear, a town of some two thousand five hundred 
inhabitants in 1828, there were about seventy planters, 
whose dealings were distributed amongst the mercantile 
houses of the place. Of these, about twenty-five were 
fitted out by the firm in which my father was a clerk, that 
of Messrs. Slade, Elson, and Co. In general, business was 
carried on upon the following terms. The mercantile firm, 
having a house in England as well as one in Newfound- 
land, imported into the island, from various ports of Europe 
and America, all supplies needful for local consumption 
and for the prosecution of the fisheries, the colony itself 
producing no provisions except fish, fresh meat, oats, and 
a few vegetables. The planter was supplied by his mer- 
chant, and always on credit, with everything requisite, the 
whole produce of his voyage being bound to be delivered 
to the house. The planter shipped a crew, averaging 
about eighteen hands to each schooner, who (in the seal- 
fishery) claimed one-half of the gross produce to be divided 
among them ; the other half going to the owner, who in 
most instances commanded his own vessel. The names 
of the crew having been registered at the counting-house, 


each man was allowed to take up goods on the credit of 
the voyage, to a certain amount, perhaps one-third, or even 
one-half, of his probable earnings. The clerks were the 
judges of the amount. For these goods both planter and 
crew applied at the office, in order, and received tickets, or 
" notes," for the several articles. In the busy season the 
registering of these notes, delivering'the goods, and enter- 
ing the transactions in the books would occupy the whole 
staff until late into the night. 

In his Introductioit to Zoology (i. no) my father has 
given the details of the seal-fishery, on which, as he was 
never personally cognizant of them, I need not dwell. But 
the preparation of the seal-fleet for starting was the busiest 
time of the year to him, the North Shore, and particularly 
Carbonear, being, from the ist to the i/th of March, all 
alive with a very active, noisy, rude, and exacting popula- 
tion. During this fortnight, life was a purgatory for the 
clerks, who were besieged from morning till night by these 
vociferous and fragrant fellows. By St. Patrick's Day, 
however, it was a point of honour for all the sealers to 
have sailed, and thence, until the middle of April, when 
the more fortunate schooners began to return, the 
counting-house kept a sort of holiday. Then, once more, 
a press of work set in. The seal-pelts brought home were 
delivered in tale, all the accounts incurred had to be 
settled, and amounts due to the successful crews to be paid 
them. This had to be done partly in cash — the Spanish 
dollar of four shillings and twopence sterling passing for 
five shillings — and partly in goods, which involved more 
"notes." The planters' accounts, too, had to be squared 
and the profit or loss on the voyage of each determined. 

By this time May would be far advanced, and now all 
was hurry, almost exactly a repetition of the scenes in 
March ; on this occasion, the cod-fishery being prepared 


for. The same schooners, commanded by the same 
skippers, but with newly selected crews, were fitted out 
on exactly the same system of credit as before, with the 
same bustle. By the middle of June, all had sailed for 
Labrador, where they remained, catchin^ and curing fish, 
until October, when they brought their produce back. 
This interval was nearly a four months' holiday for the 
clerks, and in the most delightful part of the year. The 
work in the office was then little more than routine — the 
copying of letters, keeping the goods' accounts of such 
residents as dealt at Mr. Elson's stores, despatching two 
or three vessels to England with the seal oil of the spring 
collection, and the business connected with what was 
called the Shore fishery. 

In the coves round about, and especially along the 
" North Shore " — that is, the coast of Conception Bay 
which stretched from Carbonear to Point Baccalao, an 
iron-bound, precipitous shore, much indented with small 
inlets, but containing no harbours for ships — along this 
North Shore, there resided a hardy population, mainly 
English and Protestant, who possessed no schooners, but 
held small sailing-boats, with which, mostly by families, 
they pursued the cod-fishery in the bay. The fish they 
took were commonly of larger size, were better cured, and 
commanded a higher price than the Labrador produce, but 
the quantity of it was strictly limited. Many of the 
North Shore men were tall, well-made, handsome fellows, 
singularly simple and guileless, with a marked aversion 
and dread of the Irish population of the harbours, to whom 
their peculiarities of idiom and manners afforded objects 
of current ribaldry. In the spring, as they had no re- 
sources at home, these mild giants shipped with the 
planters for the ice, and during the noisy first fortnight of 
March, when the crews " came to collar," as their arrival 



was called, the port was resounding every night with shouts 
and cries and responses, bandied from vessel to vessel, 
nicknames, ribald jokes, and opprobrious epithets showered 
on the inoffensive heads of the poor meek men from the 
North Shore. Their dialect was peculiar. It sounded 
particularly strange in the ears of the Irish, although it 
was really equally diverse from that of any English 
peasantry. One of its traits was an inability to pronounce 
the th, which became t or d. Most of them were Wesleyans, 
and it was amusing to hear them fervently singing hymns 
in their odd language : — 

" De ting my God dut hate, 
Dat I no more may do." 

With these simple folk the summer business of the 
counting-house was mainly occupied, they bringing their 
little boat-loads of excellent fish, according as it was 
cured, with such subordinate matters as fresh salmon for 
the house-table, and various delicious berries. Of these 
latter the Newfoundland summer produces a considerable 
variety, as cranberries, whortleberries, and the exquisitely 
delicate cloudberry [Riihiis chamcEmortis), locally known as 
" bake-apples." These were always saleable, and some- 
times, though not often, the North Shore men would bring 
a carcase of reindeer venison, nearly as large as a cow — an 
excellent and savoury meat. Such minute transactions as 
these, however, hardly broke the office holiday, and alto- 
gether the work of these four summer months would have 
been by no means oppressive, if performed in one. 

In October the harbour gradually filled again, and as 
the 31st of that month was the terminus of every en- 
gagement, no sooner did that much-hated and dreaded 
day arrive, than the counting-house was beset by the 
clamorous rogues, a dozen or more crowding in at once 
into the office, all shouting, swearing, and wrangling to- 



gether, dirty and greasy, redolent with a commingled 
fragrance of fish, oil, rum, and tobacco — one calling Heaven 
to witness in the richest Milesian accents that a certain 
pair of hose charged in his account never went upon Jiis 
legs, showing the said legs at the same time, as a patent 
proof that he had no such stockings four months before ; 
another affecting great indignation, because the usual 
charge of one shilling has been made for " hospital ; " 
another finding the balance of cash due to him rather less 
than his vivid imagination has anticipated, and romping 
and tearing about, swearing that he will not touch the 
dirty money, that the clerks may keep it, that he doesn't 
care two pins for the clerks, but presently cooling down, 
pocketing the cash, and signing his beautiful autograph in 
the receipt-book. The hottest part of this settling business 
did not last through November; at least, the crews, the 
roughest \x\X.^x plebs, were pretty well done with by the end 
of that month. But as the year drew near its close, books 
had to be wound up, long planters' accounts to be copied, 
ample inventories of all stock in the various stores and 
shops to be taken and copied, various statements to be 
drawn up for transmission to England, long letters to be 
transcribed, and general arrears in many branches to 
be made up. The winter business, therefore, was long 
and pretty arduous. 

The prices charged on account varied little ; in general 
they were about double what they cost in England ; that 
is to say nominally, but the difference between sterling and 
currency must be borne in mind. To residents in the 
town, who paid cash over the counter, prices were con- 
siderably less. The clerks had all their goods charged to 
them at the actual invoice prices, to which twenty-five per 
cent, was then added, and all the cash they had drawn was, 
at settling time, turned into sterling, and the diflcrence 


allowed to them. The wages Philip Gosse received were 
small, but then board and lodging were provided. Wash- 
ing, however, he had to pay himself, and the following 
anecdote may be permitted to illustrate the system and 
his personal economy : — 

" It must have been in the summer of 1829 that I had 
"been a little exceeding my income, and Mr. Elson had 
"evidently his eye on my account. One little item 
" brought matters to a crisis. There suddenly appeared 
" in the ledger against my name, ' 2 ozs. Cinnamon, i^-.' 
" This I had got at the shop, to chew, as a little luxury ; 
"but the skipper noticed it, and, suo more, said nothing 
"to me, but gave orders to Lush that Philip Gosse must 
" have nothing more without a note from him. Soon after 
" this, my laundress applied to me — through her usual 
" messenger, a buxom daughter — for some goods on 
"account, for which I, suspecting nothing, gave her a 
" note in my own hand. This note was dishonoured ; 
"and a few days later, old Mrs. Rowe herself applies to 
" Mr. E., who comes with her into the office. It so 
" happened that I did not recognize her, having generally 
" done business with one or other of her daughters, and 
" I took no heed whatever to what she and Mr. E. were 
" talking about, the chief of the discussion having doubt- 
"less passed before they entered the office. Mr. E. at 
" length gave her the note she asked in my name, and 
" she went out looking daggers at me as she passed. 
" The skipper presently retired also, saying not a word 
"to me ; and not till then did I, through St. John's 
" raillery, who had from the first apprehended the state 
" of affairs, know what had transpired. Both Durell and 
"he had wondered at my coolness and nonchalance, 
" which was now explained. Thenceforward I was more 
" economical ; and my disbursements, which had not 


^^ greatly exceeded my earnings, at length were overtaken 
" by them, and all was right again. It was a lesson I 
" never forgot." 

The remainder of this chapter shall be formed of a 
variety of desultory scraps, referring mainly to the years 
1827 and 1828, which I find in my father's handwriting. 
They have never before been printed, and they may serve 
to complete the picture of his first years in Newfound- 
land : — 

" During the first summer, while the skipper (our 
"representative for the modern term 'governor') was in 
" England, the dwelling-house had a narrow escape from 
"fire. I was standing alone at the office window which 
"looked up to the house, just after dinner one day, 
"watching a vivid thunderstorm. Suddenly I saw what 
" appeared exactly as if a cannon had been fired directly 
"out of the house chimney. This was the lightning 
"flash, which struck the house, attracted by an iron 
"fender, which was set on end in the fireplace of the 
"best bedroom. I saw the wide column of intense 
"flame; the apparent direction, which suggested the 
" resemblance to a cannon fired out of the chimney, was 
" of course, an illusion of my senses. The report, too, 
"was the short ear-piercing crack of a great gun when 
"fired close by you; nothing like ordinary thunder. 
"There was now a general rush to the house. Newell 
"and Captain Andrews had been cosily sitting before 
"the empty fireplace in the parlour, each smoking his 
"long pipe after dinner, while the glass of grog was in 
"one case standing on the hob, in the other in the 
"owner's hand. The two sitters had been in a moment 
"jerked half round, though unhurt ; the glasses dashed 
"down, much row and terror caused, but wondrously 
" little damage. The electric course could be distinctly 


" traced along the bell-wire half round the room, to the 
" door opposite. The wire had been melted here and 
** there ; the gilding on the frames of two pictures 
" on the wall had contracted into transverse bands, alter- 
" nating with bands of black destitute of gold ; the door 
"had been thrown off its hinges, though these were 
" unusually massive ; and a few other freaks of this 
"playful character had sated the lightning's ire. 

" St. John thus recalls to my memory one result of this 
"storm: * Do you recollect Newell's account of that 
" ' event (the thunderbolt ?) in his letter to Poole 1 We 
"'amused ourselves with its diction, counting the 
" ' prodigious number of was-es crowded into the 
" ' sentences. " I was," and " he was," and " it was," etc., 
" ' without end. I think you copied the letter, and fairly 
" * foamed with laughter ; — bad boys as we were ! ' 

" My friend John Brown wrote me, / tJiink, but one 
"letter. I left him ill of consumption ; and the summer 
" had scarcely set in, when he died at home in Poole. The 
" death of my early friend did not affect my feelings in 
" any appreciable degree. It seemed as if I had forgotten 
" him. I was much ashamed of this, and, I may say, 
''even shocked ; but, as it was, new scenes, new friend- 
" ships, had come in, and, what was perhaps more to 
.• " the point, I had, since I parted from him, brief as the 
" period really was, changed from the boy into the mafi. 
" Thus there seemed a great chasm between my present 
"feelings, aspirations, and habits of thought, and those 
" of only a few months before ; and it had so happened 
" that this physical transition had been exactly coin- 
" cident with the change of place and circumstances. 
" John Brown seemed to belong to another era, which 
" had faded away. It was true, in more than one sense, 
" that I had migrated to ' The New World.' 


"Charley would occasionally invite nnc to accompany 
" him over to Harbour Grace, about three miles distant, 
" to spend the evening with his family, sleep with him, 
"and return to business next morning. His parents 
"were a venerable pair of the ayicicn regime; all their 
" manners and their furniture told of high breeding and 
"'blue blood.' There was a vast oil painting, covering 
"nearly one wall of the dining-room, such as we 
" occasionally see in old mansions, representing a great 
"spread of fruit, and a peacock, in all the dimensions and 
" all the splendour of life. Charley had two sisters — 
" Hannah, a sweet, sunny girl, with bright eyes and 
" auburn hair ; Charlotte (Lotty), a little deformed, very 
"gentle, but retiring, and less attractive. Both were 
" very sweet, amiable girls. 

"One day (I think within my first year), having 
"occasion to go over to Harbour Grace, I borrowed a 
"horse to do the journey en cavalier. I think this was 
" the first time I had ever crossed a horse's back, unless 
" it was in going with my cousins Kemp from Holme to 
" Corfe Castle, and then I had not attempted more than 
" a walk. Now, however, I was more ambitious ; and 
" as my steed broke into a gentle trot, I jerked from 
" side to side in a style quite edifying and novel to any 
"passing pedestrians, no doubt; for I had no notion of 
" holding with my knees. The success of the experi- 
" ment did not encourage me to repeat it, and I didn't 
"know how to ride till I learned in Jamaica, in 1845. 

"The facilities for reading afforded by the library 
" I eagerly availed myself of, particularly in novels, of 
" which I presently became a great devourer. Several 
" of Scott's, several of Bulwer's, of D'Isracli's, I read ; but 
" the American tales of Cooper, and the Irish series 
"published under the nom de guerre of 'The O'Hara 


" Family,' were the prime favourites. As an example 
" of the absorption of interest with which I entered into 
" these imaginary scenes, I remember that on one 
"occasion this autumn (1827), I was sitting in my bed- 
"room late at night, finishing a novel, and when I had 
" done, it was some minutes before I could at all recall 
" where I was, or my circumstances. At another time, 
" I actually read through two of the three volumes of a 
" novel at one sitting. 

" It was, if I am not mistaken, in The Collegians,^ 
" one of the O'Hara tales, that I met with the following 
" sentence : — ' If time be rightly defined as " a succession 
'""of ideas," then to him whose mind holds but one 
" '■ abiding idea, there is no time.' This definition struck 
" me forcibly at the time ; and all through life I have 
" recurred to it, ever and anon, when I have read the 
"ordinary confused definitions of time, in which the 
" motions of the heavenly bodies are prominently 
" mentioned. There are indeed the measures of time ; 
" but the essence of time is something quite distinct 
" from its admeasurement. The sentence I have just 
" quoted formed the basis of many a discussion between 
" St. John and me ; and we speculated much upon 
" eternity, as if its essence precluded succession. We 
" talked too of God, as the schoolmen had done long 
" before us ; assuming that to Him there was no succes- 
"sion, but one abiding now. 

"The year 1827 closed, and I knew by experience 
"what a Newfoundland winter was. It was by no 
" means unbearable. The thermometer very rarely 
" descends below zero more than once or twice in the 
" season ; snow sets in generally by the end of Sep- 

By Gerald Griffin. 


"tember, and by the middle of November it has bc- 
" come permanent till April. However, the weather is 
" generally fine ; we in the office kept good fires, took 
" daily walks to the great gun upon Harbour Rock, or 
" in some other direction, and contrived to enjoy our- 
" selves. Mr. Elson had returned in October and 
" resumed his wonted authority, and Newell had sunk 
"to mere book-keeper again. It was, I think, in this 
"winter that St. John urged me to write a novel. I at 
" length complied ; and taking down a quire of foolscap, 
"began the adventures of one Edwin Something, 'a youth 
" ' about eighteen,' who ' dropped a tear over the ship's 
" * side ' as he left his native country. I passed my hero 
" through sundry scenes, and, among the rest, into a sea- 
" fight with a Tunis corsair, in which, I said, ' the Turks 
" ' remained masters of the field.' There was no attempt 
"at fine writing; it was all very simple, and all very 
" brief ; for I finished off my story in some three or four 
" pages. St. John read it very seriously, and mercifully 
" restricted his criticism to the expression ' field,' in the 
"sentence above cited, which, he said, as the subject was 
"a j-^<3;-fight, was hardly conime il faiit. He did not 
" laugh at me ; but I had sense enough to know that it 
" was a very poor affair, and did not preserve it. 

"In the spring of 1828, when the vessels began to 
" return from the ice, I was sent to the oil-stage to take 
"count of the seal-pelts delivered. The stage v^^as a 
"long projecting wharf, roofed and inclosed, carried out 
" over the sea upon piles driven into the bottom. I take 
" my place, pencil and paper in hand, at the open end of 
" this stage, seated on an inverted tub. Before me is a 
" wide hand-barrow. A boat loaded to the water's edge 
"with seal-pelts is being slowly pulled from one of the 
"schooners by a noisy crew, mostly Irish. As soon as 


" she arrives at the wharf, two or three scramble up, and 
"the rest, remaining in the boat, begin to throw the 
" heavy pelts of greasy bloody fat up on the floor of the 
"stage. At the same time one of the crew that has 
" climbed up begins to lay them one by one, fur down- 
" ward, on the barrow ; singing out, as he lays down 
*' each, * One — two — three — four — tally,' I at each one 
"making a mark on my paper. Five pelts make a 
" barrow-load, and instead of the word ' five,' the word 
" ' tally ' is used, for then I am to make a diagonal line 
"across the four marks, and this formula is called *a 
" tally.' Immediately the word ' tally ' is uttered by the 
" loader, which is always with a loud emphasis, I also 
" say * tally ; ' and then two labourers catch up the 
** barrow, and carry it into the recesses of the stage for 
" the pelts to be skinned ; a second barrow meanwhile 
"receiving its tally in exactly the same manner, while 
" my marking goes on, but on the opposite side of the 
" basal line ; so that the record assumes a form which 
"represents fifty pelts. This is very easily counted, 
"while mistake is almost impossible. I forgot to say 
" that one of the more responsible hands, perhaps the 
" mate, also stands by, and keeps a like tally with mine, 
" on behalf of the owner and crew. 

" Of course this was by no means so pleasant an 
" employment as that I had been used to in the warmth 
" and comfort and congenial company of the counting- 
" house. The dirty, brawling vulgar fellows crowding 
"around, uttering their low witless jokes, or cursing 
"and swearing, or abusing others, or bragging their 
" achievements ; the filth everywhere ; the rancid grease, 
" which could not fail to be absorbed by my shoes and 
" scattered over my clothes ; so that whenever, at bell- 
" ringing or in evening, I essayed to join my companions. 


" the plain-spoken rof^ues would welcome me with — 
" ' Oh, Gosse, pray don't come very near ! you stink so 
"•of seal-oil!' then, at times, the bitter cold of winter, 
"not yet yielding to spring, the snowy gales driving in 
"on me, and blowing up through the corduroy poles 
" which made the floor ; — all this made me heartily glad 
" when the last schooner was discharged, and I was 
" again free to take my place with my fellows. 

" I picked up, however, during this occupation, a good 
" deal of interesting information. I became familiar with 
" the different species of seals ; learned much of their 
"habits and natural history, and of the adventures of the 
"hunters; and formed a pretty graphic and correct 
" idea of the circumstances of the voyage, and scenes at 
" the ice. A good deal of this I embodied in a journal, 
" which I had continued to keep ever since I parted from 
*' home, sending it consecutively to mother, as book after 
"book became filled. The one I now transmitted was 
" embellished, as I well recollect, with a coloured frontis- 
" piece, of full sheet size, folded so as to correspond with 
" the leaves of the book. This represented an animated 
"scene at the ice, in which several schooners were 
'' moored and several boats' crews were scattered about, 
" with their gaffs and guns, pursuing the young seals ; 
" others pelting them, and others dragging their loads of 
"pelts to their boats. Though destitute of all artistic 
" power, it was a valuable picture ; for it represented, 
"with vividness and truth, a scene which then had 
"never been adequately described in print, certainly 
" never depicted. I am sorry to say that this, with all 
"the other records of those times and scenes, has long 
" been utterly and unaccountably lost ; no trace having 
" been preserved, except in fading memory, of what I 
"took so much pains to perpetuate. Many shiftings of 


"homes have occurred, and 'three removes are as bad 
"'as a fire.' 

" I have already alluded to my painful susceptibility 
" to ghostly fears. In my imagination, a skeleton, or 
" even a corpse, was nearly the same thing as a ghost. 
'* This spring, the body of a drowned sailor was picked 
"up in the harbour, and laid under a shed on our 
"premises, covered with a sail, till it could be buried. 
"My morbid curiosity impelled me to look on it; and 
" Captain Stevens turned back the sail, to show me the 
" face. The corpse had evidently lain long in the water, 
" so that only the greenish-white bones were left — at least, 
"in the parts not protected by the clothes. I felt a 
" great awe and revulsion as I looked at it ; and the 
"grim grinning skull haunted my dreams, and would 
" suddenly come up before my eyes, when alone in the 
"dark, for months. It was the first time I had ever 
" beheld the relics of poor deceased humanity. 

" Among the numerous scraps which had lain, from 
" time immemorial, in my father's great portfolio, there 
" was an engraving by Bartolozzi, in his peculiar manner 
"imitating red chalk. It was a Venus bathing, after 
" Cipriani,— a most exquisite thing. This I had taken 
"possession of, and had brought to Newfoundland. 
"There was a servant girl, named Mary March, living 
" in one of the houses near our premises, whom I used 
"to see occasionally, as she came with her pitcher to 
" fetch water from the clear cold brook that ran along 
" at the end of our platform. Mary was quite a toast 
"among our chaps — a pleasant, smiling, perfectly modest 
" girl ; but what attracted m.y eager interest was that her 
" face was the exact counterpart of that of my most 
" lovely Venus of Bartolozzi's." 

( 6i ) 


NEWFOUNDLAND {continued). 


EARLY In Aiic^ust, 1828, Philip Gosse was sent for by 
Mr. Elson, and told that he must get himself ready 
to go and take his place in the office at St. Mary's. 
This he knew of only as an obscure, semi-barbarous settle- 
ment on the south- coast of Newfoundland, where, as the 
clerks had gathered, the firm had just purchased an old 
establishment. The young man's heart sank within him 
as this command was delivered to him in Mr. Elson's dry, 
short, peremptory manner. Remonstrance, of course, was 
out of the question, but it seemed an exile to the antipodes, 
to be severed from all his pleasant companions and en- 
vironment, to be shut up in an out-of-the-world hole, for 
an indefinite period, since no hint was given of any term 
to this banishment. He could only bow in silence, and 
rush down to the counting-house, there to pour forth his 
sorrows to his sympathizing fellows, not without tears. 

The Plover, a schooner recently purchased by Mr. 
Elson, was being sent round with a cargo of supplies. On 
board this vessel Gosse sailed a few days later, enveloped, 
as the ship ran down the coast, in a dense sea-fog, raw, 
damp, cold, and miserable. On the second day he saw a 
curious phenomenon, which roused him a little out of his 
depression. Mounting the rigging some twenty feet or so 


above the sea-level, he found himself in bright sunshine, 
with the fog spread below him, like a plain of cotton. On 
this surface his shadow was projected, the head surrounded, 
at some distance, by a circling halo of rainbow colours. 
This is the rare Arctic appearance known as the fog-bow, 
or fog-circle. On the third morning, still sailing in blind 
fog, the vessel got into the harbour of St. Mary's. It 
proved a dreary, desolate place indeed. There were 
perhaps three or four hundred inhabitants, ahnost all of the 
fisherman or labourer class, and for the most part Irish. 
There were two mercantile establishments — the principal, 
which the Carbonear firm had recently purchased ; and 
another, of much humbler pretensions, kept by a genial, 
jovial, twinkling little old Englishman, named William 
Phippard, who also filled the of^ce of stipendiary magistrate. 
The manager of Elson's was one John W. Martin, a Poole 
man, the son of a certain Mr. Martin who was a little fat 
man, with a merry laugh and a loud chirping voice, a jest 
ever on his lips, as he bustled hither and thither, who had 
been in Gosse's boyhood one of the familiar objects of 
Poole life. There was nothing genial about his son, John 
W. Martin, however ; consequential and bumptious in his 
deportment, he enjoyed wielding his rod of authority, and 
soon began to make his new clerk feel it. At the first 
meal young Gosse ate with his new chief, the latter took 
his intellectual measure. Gosse asked if there were any 
Indians in the neighbourhood. "What! you mean," said 
Martin, " the abo — abo — abo — reeginees } " affecting learn- 
ing, but pronouncing the awful word with the greatest 
difficulty. Martin began at once to bore the young man 
with constant petty tyrannies, which, after the liberty to 
which he had become accustomed at Carbonear, were very 
galling. One day on the wharf, among the labourers, where 
Gosse was doing some duty or other, Martin took offence, 


and said, " You shan't be called Mr. Gosse any more ; you 
shall be called plain Philip." The lad was very timid ; 
but on this occasion he thought he saw his advantage in 
the manager's own overweening sense of dignity, and he 
pertly replied, " Very well ; and I'll call you plain John," 
which shut his mouth and stopped that move, while the 
labourers grinned approval. 

On Sundays only Philip Gosse was his own master at 
St. Mary's. Sometimes, while the summer lasted, he took 
an exploring walk on this day. But though the scenery 
seaward was grand, it was not attractive ; the land was a 
treeless waste, and the young man had no companion to 
interchange a word with. He therefore soon took to the 
habit of going round the beach to Phippard's immediately 
after breakfast, spending the whole day there, and return- 
ing to his solitary bedroom at night. Phippard had two 
daughters — one married to an Englishman named Coles, 
who commanded a little coasting craft, and who lived in 
the house ; the other a pretty girl, named Emma, who 
insensibly became the young clerk's closest friend and 
principal companion. The Elson stores and wharf had the 
reputation of being haunted. The Irish servants told of 
strange lights seen and unaccountable noises heard there 
at night, although there was insinuated, on sunshiny 
mornings, a sly suspicion that the demon was one Ned 
Toole, a faithful servitor and confidential factotum of 
Martin's. It was quite salutary that such a superstition 
should prevail ; a ghost is an excellent watch-dog. Martin 
affected to despise the belief, but secretly nourished it 
notwithstanding. Gosse's bedroom was over the office, 
and between it and the other inhabited rooms there was 
a large unoccupied chamber called the fur-room. The 
house did a good deal of business in valuable furs — 
beaver, otter, fox, and musquash — and the whole room 


was hung round with dry skins, received from the trappers, 
awaiting shipment. It was important that this very costly 
property should be protected, and so — this fur-room was 
haunted. The maid-servants recounted to the young clerk 
a harrowing tale of an incident which had happened before 
he came. One night one of them told Martin that conver- 
sation was heard in the house, but no one could say 
whence the voices came. He listened, and heard the sound 
as of a man's grave tones, rather subdued, and occasionally 
intermitted. After a while it was concluded that it was 
the ghost in the fur-room. Martin, therefore, with a 
theatrical air of devilry, took a cocked pistol in each hand, 
marched upstairs — the timid women crouching at his back 
with a candle — and, throwing open the door of the fur- 
room, authoritatively asked, " Who's there t " Nothing, 
however, was heard or seen ; nor was any explanation of 
the mystery attained. But one of the girls quietly said, at 
the close, that she thought it was only the buzz of a blue- 
bottle fly ! 

There can be no question that his timidity was increased, 
and his dislike of company which he was not certain would 
be congenial deepened, by Philip Gosse's dreary experiences 
at St. Mary's. One thing he learned which was afterwards 
useful to him, book-keeping by double entry, both in prin- 
cipal and in practice. He sat all day at the desk, mostly 
alone ; but the work was not nearly sufficient to fill the 
time, there was no literature in the place, and he was hard 
set for occupation. His love of animals was known, 
however, and the good-natured fellows in the port would 
bring him oddities. One day a fisherman brought him a 
pretty bird, of dense, soft, spotless white plumage, calling 
it a sea-pigeon. It was a kittiwake gull in remarkably 
fine condition ; as Philip was holding it in his hands, 
gazing on it with admiration, it suddenly darted its long 


sharp beak up one of his nostrils, brini^inc^ down a pouring 
stream of blood. With such poor incidents as these, 1828 
passed gloomily and drearily away. But one morning, 
soon after the new year had opened, Martin at breakfast 
electrified Gosse by the announcement that he was going 
to send the latter to Carbonear. The lad was to travel on 
foot across the country, trackless and buried deep in snow. 
Philip thought not for an instant, however, of danger or 
labour, in the joy of getting back to companionship and 
home. Old Joe Byrne, a trapper and furrier, familiar with 
the interior — a worthy, simple old fellow, and quite a 
character — was to be his pilot, and to carry his little kit, 
his chest remaining to be sent round the coast by the first 
spring schooner. 

Accordingly, the next day, they left in a small boat, and 
were rowed up the bay, to its extreme point, where Colinet 
river enters. Here was Joe's house, and here Philip Gosse 
remained for one day as his guest, regaled with delicious 
beaver meat. He declared to the end of his life that no 
flesh was so exquisite as the hind quarters of beaver roasted. 
An old Irish farmer was living near, whose English was 
imperfect. He came in to speed the travelling party, and 
wishing to describe the abundance of ptarmigan in the 
interior, he assured them that "you will see a thousand 
partridge, and she will look you right in the face." After 
a last revel on the delicious tail of the beaver, late in the 
afternoon Joe and Philip Gosse started to walk to Car- 
bonear, striking due north for the head-waters of Trinity 
Bay, some sixteen or seventeen miles distant in a direct 
line. Just before nightfall they arrived at a little '' tilt," or 
rude hut, of Joe's, made in his pursuit of fur animals. 
Here they soon built up a good fire and prepared their 
evening meal, falling asleep at last in a iog of pungent 



The second day was far more laborious. In many 
places the snow was several feet deep ; the foot on being 
set down would sink to mid-thigh, and had to be slowly 
and painfully dragged out for the next step. Seven hours' 
hard walking only accomplished, by Joe's estimate, five 
miles. The over-exertion produced symptoms of distress 
in the physical frame of the young man, and he was 
utterly exhausted when they reached a second and much 
poorer tilt. They were now about half-way across the 
isthmus. The third day was more pleasant. The weather 
was fine, the snow tolerably firm, and the elasticity of youth 
began to respond to the necessity. A remarkable character- 
istic of the interior of Newfoundland is a multitude of lakes 
or ponds, mere dilatations of the rivers and rivulets ; they 
occur in succession, like links of a chain, or like beads on 
a string. These were now hard frozen and snow-covered ; 
but their perfect level, and the comparative thinness of the 
wind-swept snow upon them, induced the old trapper to 
select these expansions of Rocky River and its tributaries 
wherever their course would admit Some of the larger 
ponds were several miles in length, and were often studded 
with islets clothed with lofty hard-woods, such as birch and 
w^tch-hazel, forms of vegetation not met with near the 
coast This country the young man pictured as probably 
full of beaut)' and variety in summer. 

Old Joe was communicative, and in his capacity of 
furrier and trapper his experience was interesting. He 
pointed out some large rounded masses of snow at the 
head of one lake, which, he said, covered a beaver-house 
whence he had drawn many beavers. In other places he 
pointed out otter ^or, as he pronounced it, "author") 
slides, always on the steep slope of the bank, where the 
water, even throughout the winter, remained unfrozen. 
" These slides," says my father, " were as smooth and 


slippery as glass, caused by the otters sliding on them in 
play, in the following manner : — Several of these amusing 
creatures combine to select a suitable spot. Then each in 
succession, lying flat on his belly, from the top of the bank 
slides swiftly down over the snow, and plunges into the 
water. The others follow, while he crawls up the bank at 
some distance, and running round to the sliding-place, 
takes his turn again to perform the same evolution as 
before. The wet running from their bodies freezes on 
the surface of the slide, and so the snow becomes a smooth 
gutter of ice. This sport the old trapper had frequently 
seen continued with the utmost eagerness, and with every 
demonstration of delight, for hours together." It reminds 
one of tobogganing, although the attitude is not quite the 
same. My father used to say that he knew no other 
example of adult quadrupeds doing so human a thing as 
joining in a regular set and ordained game. 

They had made fair progress in this third day, and at 
its end, as there were no more hospitable tilts, they 
were fain to bivouac under the skies. Old Joe, however, 
was equal to the emergency. With the axe that he carried 
at his belt, he promptly felled a number of trees in a 
spruce wood, causing them so to fall as that their branches 
and leafy tops should form a dense wall of foliage 
around an open area, within which he lighted an immense 
blazing fire, feeding it with the trunks, which he cut into 
logs, and piled up in store sufficient for the whole night, 
before he ceased labour. Next morning they trudged on 
again, and while this fourth day was still early, they ar- 
rived at the sea in Trinity Bay. The long narrow inlet 
at the head was frozen over, and they walked down it. 
The ice was solid enough, but fresh water had flowed over 
it, flooding the whole to the depth of about a foot. This 
also had frozen over during the night, but so thinly as to 


bear the pressure of the foot for only an instant. As 
soon as the weight of the body came, down went the foot 
through to the ice below. Trudging thus through freezing 
water, while the edge of the thin surface-ice cut the skin 
at every step, and this for a distance of two miles, proved 
the most trying incident of the whole journey ; but the 
sense of having reached the northern coast sustained them. 
A mile or two now brought them to the point whence they 
had again to strike across country to Conception Bay. The 
distance was still about a dozen miles, but along a regular 
beaten track, and they did it jauntily. Near nightfall they 
reached the head of Spaniard's Bay, and presently walked 
into the familiar streets of the town of Harbour Grace, 
where, at the house of his friend Charley St. John, Gosse 
parted from his trapper pilot, and received a cordial greet- 
ing from the whole of the affectionate St. John family. A 
letter from Mr. St. John takes up the tale. " Have you for- 
gotten," he says forty years later (1868), "the night when, 
on your return from St. Mary's to Carbonear, you stopped 
at my father's, and when I kept you awake until near day- 
break relating what had occurred during your absence, till 
my father had to tap at the partition to stop our clacking 
and laughing } And how, when you went over next day, 
the lads were disappointed at finding their bottled ale all 
fizzled down flat and stale } " Very shortly after this, W. C. 
St. John married, under somewhat romantic circumstances, 
and thenceforward began to run over to Harbour Grace 
for two or three nights of each week, returning to the office 
in the early morning. Still, he was not quite the same to 
his friends as before, and the marriage of a clerk without 
special consent was not looked upon with favour. Mr. 
Elson, after a time, intimated that St. John must seek 
some other employment, and in the autumn of 1830 he 
ceased to be one of the circle at Carbonear. 


It was in the winter of that year that Phih'p Gossc 
became consumed with a passion for poetry, a return to 
the feehng roused three years before by the reading of 
Lara. He began to devour all the verse that was to be 
discovered in Carbonear, and to form a manuscript selec- 
tion of the pieces which struck him as being the best, an 
anthology which he patiently continued to form until 
1834. This collection, in two volumes, is now in my 
possession, and testifies to the refined, but, of course, 
somewhat conventional taste, of the lad. Much reading of 
poetry inevitably leads to the writing of it, and Philip 
wrote the words " Sprigs of Laurel " on the title-page of 
a blank volume which it was his intention to fill with lyrics 
of his own. He achieved a "Song to Poland," some scrip- 
tural pieces inspired by Byron, a blank-verse address to 
Spring, and then the laurel grove withered up and budded 
no more. His genius was not for poetry. Music followed 
in the wake of verse ; 2. furore for making musical instru- 
ments seized the clerks. Under the tuition of a Mr. 
Twohig, a carpenter, my father constructed in 183 1 an 
^olian harp and a violin, neither of which was unsatisfac- 
tory. In the same summer he taught himself to swim. 

Up to this time the record of my father's life has been 
the chronicle of a child, although by the close of the season 
he was actually well advanced in his twenty-second year. 
In reality, however, he was extremely young, unformed, 
without definition of character, without distinct aim of any 
kind, and lacking, too, the ordinary buoyancy of early man- 
hood. He was suspended, as it were, between the artlessness 
of childhood and the finished shape which his maturity was 
to adopt. This is probably no rare phenomenon in the 
youth of men born to be remarkable, and yet placed in 
circumstances which arrest rather than advance their de- 
velopment. In glancing over my father's diaries and notes, 


I find no difficulty in perceiving that the year 1832 was in 
several respects the most remarkable in his life. In it he 
commenced that serious and decisive devotion to scientific 
natural history which henceforward was his central occu- 
pation. In it he first, as he himself put it forty years later, 
"definitely and solemnly yielded himself to God; and 
began that course heavenward, which, through many devia- 
tions and many baitings and many falls, I have been 
enabled to pursue, on the whole steadfastly, until now." 
It was in this year also that, after five years' absence in 
Newfoundland, he once more visited his parents and his 
native country. This, however, was but a trifling matter 
in comparison with the great importance of the change 
which turned the soft and molluscous temperament of the 
youth into the vertebrate character of the man. In 1832 
Philip Gosse, suddenly and consciously, became a naturalist 
and a Christian. On the former subject he must now speak 
for himself: — 

'* The 5th of May was one of the main pivots of life 
" to me. The Wesleyan minister, Rev. Richard Knight, 
" was selling some of his spare books by auction. I was 
"there, and bought Kaumacher's edition of Adams's 
''Essays on the Microscope, a quarto which I still 
" possess. The plan of this work had led the author to 
"treat largely of insects, and to give minute instructions 
" for their collection and preservation. I was delighted 
"with my prize; it just condensed and focussed the 
" wandering rays of science that were kindling in my 
" mind, and I enthusiastically resolved forthwith to collect 
" insects. At first I proposed only to include the more 
" handsome butterflies and moths and the larger beetles, of 
" which barren Newfoundland yielded a poor store indeed ; 
" but not knowing how to make a limit, I presently 
"enlarged my plan, and commenced as an entomologist 


" in earnest. The Sirex gigas, which I had taken in 
" 1829, was still lying on the sash of the parlour window ; 
"with this I began my collection. On the 6th of June 
" I took, on a currant bush in the garden, a very fine 
"specimen of a very fine butterfly, the Camberwell 
"Beauty {Vanessa A ntiopa), of which, strange to say, I 
" never saw another example while I remained in the 
" island. 

" Owing to the long continuance of the Arctic ice on 
"the coast, the spring of 1832 was unprecedentedly late ; 
"so that my collection had not gone beyond a few 
" minute and inconspicuous insects, before I sailed for 
" England. 

" The preface to my Entomological Journal, from which 
" I gather the above particulars, ends with these pro- 
"'phetic sentences: *I cannot conclude . . . without 
" ' noticing the superintending Providence, that, without 
" ' our forethought, often causes the most important 
"'events of our life to originate in some trifling and 
" ' apparently accidental circumstance — to be, like our 
" * own huge globe, " hung upon nothing " ! After years 
'"only can decide how much of that happiness which 
" ' chequers my earthly existence may have depended 
"'on the laying out of ten shillings at a book sale.' " 
The arrival of the spring vessels from Poole had an- 
nounced the serious illness of Philip's only sister, Elizabeth, 
but he had not felt any special alarm, until in the begin- 
ning of June news came that her life was in danger, and 
that she wished to see her absent brothers once more. 
Philip Gosse immediately took in the letter to Mr. Elson, 
who, in the kindest manner, said that he should go home 
by the next ship, which was to sail in a i^w weeks. It 
had been distinctly stipulated that this privilege should 
be given to the lad during his apprenticeship, and five out 


of the six years had now expired. The anticipation of the 
death of one so beloved as Elizabeth, and the tedium of 
waiting for the opportunity to visit her, produced a peculiar 
effect on the young man's mind. As has already been 
shown, he was by temperament grave and somewhat 
Puritanical. His giddiest flights of spirit had not raised 
him to the customary altitude of innocent youthful be- 
haviour, and nothing was lacking but such an incident as 
the illness of Elizabeth to develop in him the sternest 
forms of religious self-devotion. He shall himself describe 
the course of events in his spiritual nature, and I am the 
more ready to print his exact words, because their tenour 
is very unusual, and far enough removed from the conven- 
tional language of modern religious life : — 

" My prominent thought in this crisis was legal. I 
"wanted the Almighty to be my Friend ; to go to Him 
"in my need. I knew He required me to be holy. He 
" had said, * My son, give Me thy heart' I closed with 
" Him, not hypocritically, but sincerely ; intending 
" henceforth to live a new, a holy Hfe ; to please and 
" serve God. I knew nothing of my own weakness, or 
" of the power of sin. I cannot say that I was born 
" again as yet ; but a work was commenced which was 
" preparatory to, and which culminated in, regeneration. 
" I came at once to God, with much confidence, as a 
" hearer of prayer, and He graciously honoured my faith, 
" imperfect as it was. 

"As illustrating the tenderness of conscience then 
" induced, I recollect the following incident : — The use of 
" profane language, so common around me, I had always 
" avoided, until the last twelvemonth or so, when I had 
"been gradually sliding into it. One day, some week 
"or two after my exercise with God, I was alone in the 
"office, when some agreeable occupation or other was 


"suddenly interrupted by work sent down from Mr. 
" Elson. In the irritation of the moment, I muttered 
"'Damn it!' not audibly, but to myself Instantly my 
"conscience was smitten; I confessed my sin before 
" God, and never again fell into that transgression." 
On July lo, 1832, he sailed from Carbonear, in the brig 
Convivial, for Poole. The skipper. Captain Compton, was 
the most gentleman-like of the Elson captains, a man of 
immense bulk, genial and agreeable in manners, and he 
made the voyage a very pleasing one. Philip kept a 
journal of this expedition, which still exists and bears 
witness to his increased power of observation and descrip- 
tion. On August 6 the young naturalist, who was now 
within sight of the coasts of Devon and Dorset, had the 
satisfaction of observing one of the rarest visitors to our 
shores, the white whale, or Beluga. Late in the evening 
of the same day he stepped on Poole Quay, and five 
minutes brought him to the familiar house in Skinner 
Street. As he knocked at the door, his heart was in his 
mouth, for he knew not what tidings awaited him. His 
brother answered his knock. " Oh," Philip said, as he 
grasped his hand, " is all well } " for he could not speak 
the name of Elizabeth. " Yes," was the reply, " very well ! " 
and the new-comer felt a load lifted from him. Though 
still weak, Elizabeth was fast recovering, and had been 
removed to lodgings at Parkstone, in company with her 
mother, for purer air. 

Little did Philip sleep that night. Awake in conversa- 
tion until past midnight, he was up at four o'clock next 
morning, and sallied forth, armed with pill-boxes, ready 
for the capture of any unlucky insect desirous to experience 
the benefits of early rising. During the voyage home his 
dreams had been nightly running in the pursuit of insects 
over the flowery meadows of Dorset. At length it was a 


reality. He was in a humour to be pleased with every- 
thing ; but even if it had not been so, the morning was so 
fresh and bracing, the hedges so thickly green, and the 
flowers so sweet after the harsh uplands of Newfoundland, 
that he could not fail of an ecstasy. In later life my father 
constantly recalled that delightful morning, which appears 
to have singularly and deeply moved him with its beauty 
" I was brimful of happiness," he said in a letter of a year 
later (November i6, 1833). "The beautiful and luxuriant 
hedgerows; the mossy, gnarled oaks; the fields; the flowers; 
the pretty warbling birds ; the blue sky and bright sun ; the 
dancing butterflies ; but, above all, the unwonted freedom 
from a load of anxiety ; — altogether it seemed to my en- 
chanted senses, just come from dreary Newfoundland, that 
I was in Paradise. How I love to recall every little 
incident connected with that first morning excursion ! — the 
poor brown cranefly, which was the first English insect I 
caught ; the little grey moth under the oaks at the end of 
the last field ; the meadow where the Satyridcs were sport- 
ing on the sunny bank ; the heavy fat Musca in Heckford- 
field hedge, which I in my ignorance called a Bombyiitcs, 
and the consequent display of entomological lore mani- 
fested all that day by the family, who frequently repeated 
the sounding words ' Bombylius bee-fly.' " 

The mother and sister soon returned from Parkstone, 
and the circle around the table in Skinner Street was once 
more complete. Philip did not stray three miles from 
Poole during the whole of his visit. He found little 
changed in Poole during his five years' absence. "Our 
lane," which had been a ctd-de-sac, was now a thoroughfare, 
by the turning of the old gardens at the end into new 
streets, and there was a new Public Library built at the 
bottom of High Street. Of this Philip was made free, and 
there he read a good deal. His time was largely spent in 


entomological excursions, and he threw himself into scien- 
tific study with extreme ardour and singleness of purpose. 
He found an occasional companion in his cousin, Tom 
Salter, an ardent young botanist, and he discovered that, 
in a young man named Samuel Harrison, Poole now pos- 
sessed a local entomologist. With this latter Gosse agreed 
to correspond and exchange duplicates when he returned 
to Newfoundland, and these pledges were faithfully kept. 
Harrison was the son of the most influential member of 
the firm, and probably his friendship with Philip Gosse 
gave the latter a sort of status with Mr. Elson and the 
captains, and invested his pursuit of insects with a certain 
consideration. From this time forth, my father's zoological 
proclivities were matters of notoriety, but he does not seem 
to have met with any of the ridicule which so unusual an 
employment of his leisure might be presumed to bring 
upon him in a society like that of Carbonear. 

On September 20, 1832 ("the day before Sir Walter 
Scott died," as he notes in his diary), my father's brief 
but pleasant sojourn in England ended. He sailed with 
the Convivial, on her return to Carbonear. He kept no 
notes of this voyage, which was both tempestuous and 
long, for they did not arrive until the ist of November. 
Late as it was in the season, and the Arctic winter already 
setting in, he did what he could in collection and in study. 
Of course, he met with many difficulties, of which his 
personal isolation from all scientific sympathy was perhaps 
the greatest, but by degrees many of them were sur- 
mounted, and he learned much in the best and hardest 
school, that of actual observation. He carefully recorded 
every fact which appeared to be of importance, a habit 
which proved of the highest value. He thus became, not 
merely an assiduous collector of insects, but a scientific 
naturalist. Immediately after his return from Poole he 


began to keep a methodical meteorological journal ; record- 
ing the temperature thrice a day by a thermometer hung 
outside the office window, and, after a few months, recording 
the weather also. These records were regularly published 
every week in The Conception Bay Mercnry, and were the 
earliest meteorological notes which were issued by any 
Newfoundland newspaper. 

Philip Gosse now held the second place in the office. 
His standing duty was to take a duplicate copy of the 
ledger, in three volumes, for transmission to the firm at 
Poole. This was easy work, for he estimated that he 
could have completed it, in a steady effort, within three 
months, and that without any distressing fatigue. There 
was additional work, such as occasional copying of letters 
and routine jobs ; and in the times of pressure — as in the 
outfits for the ice and for Labrador, and in the settlement 
of accounts — he bore his part. None the less, he enjoyed 
an easy time and plenty of leisure. Early in 1833, under 
the influence of the then much-admired apocalyptical 
romances of the Rev. George Croly, Philip Gosse achieved 
rather a long poem. The Restoration of Israel, which is 
scarcely likely ever to be printed. His main and most 
absorbing occupation, however, was from this time forth 
natural history, and, for the present, entomology in par- 
ticular. I have before me a large collection of letters 
written by Philip Gosse at this period, to his family and to 
Samuel Harrison in Poole, and to W. C. St. John in Har- 
bour Grace. They breathe the full professional ardour of 
the collector ; they supply scarcely any facts concerning the 
life of the writer, but chronicle with an almost passionate 
eagerness the daily history of his discoveries and experi- 
ments. With the sudden development of intellect and 
conscience which I have described as taking place in 1832, 
there came the conscious pleasure in perception, and the 


conscious power to give it literary expression. From the 
letters before me I will give one or two examples. On 
January 12, 1833, he describes to Sam Harrison an incident 
of his late return voyage to Newfoundland : — 

" Our passage to this country was long and rough, 
"and towards the latter part very cold and uncomfort- 
"able. An odd circumstance happened while I was on 
" board ; one of the men coming up from the half-deck 
" found sticking on to his trousers a living animal, which 
" the mate brought down to me, that it might have the 
"benefit of my scientific lore. The crew, not being much 
"versed in zoology, could not tell what to make of it, he 
"said, for ' it did not seem to be a jackass, nor a tomtit, 
" ' nor, in short, any of that specie.' After sagely gazing 
" at the creature awhile, I pronounced it to be a scorpion. 
" It was about two inches long, of a light-brown colour ; 
"when we would touch it, it would instantly turn the 
" point of its sting towards the place, as if in defence, 
" but did not attempt to run. However, we soon put an 
" end to its career by popping it into a little drop of 
"Jamaica, and the fellow is now in the possession of 
"your humble servant, snugly lying at the bottom of a 
"phial bottle. The wonder is where or how it could 
" have come on board, for they are never found in Eng- 
" land. I think it must have been in the ship ever since 
"she took a cargo of bark in Italy last winter." 
To the same correspondent he says, on May 25 — and 
in this passage I seem to detect for the first time the 
complete accent of that peculiar felicity in description 
which was eventually to make him famous : — 

" Of all the sights I have witnessed since I began the 
"study of this delightful science, none has charmed me 
" more than one I observed this morning. On opening 
" my breeding-box, I saw a small fly with four wings 


"just at the moment it cleared itself of the pupariiini. 
" The wings were white, thick, and rumpled ; the body 
" slender, and about three-eighths of an inch in length. 
'' I took it gently out and watched its proceedings. It 
*' first bent its long antennai under the breast, and then 
"curved the abdomen, in which position it remained. It 
"was some time before I could perceive any change in 
" the wings, but at last they began to increase, and in 
" about an hour they were at the full size, though they 
"did not attain their markings and spots till two or 
" three hours. I now discovered that it is a lace-winged 
" fly {Hemerobius), the first of the genus I have ever seen ; 
"and I cannot sufficiently admire the beauty and delicacy 
" of the ample wings, the gracefulness of the little head, 
" and the lady-like appearance of the whole insect. I 
"know not from what pupa it could have come (for 
" though it was evolved the moment I first saw it, yet I 
" was so taken up with the fly that I neglected to observe 
" the pupa-case, and afterwards I could not find it), unless, 
" which I think probable, it was from one of those little 
" silky cocoons, on the inner surface of willow bark, which 
"I found on the 19th of March, and which I took for 
"weevils! However, I shall soon ascertain, for I have 
" more of them." 
Another fragment of this copious correspondence may 

be given, from a letter of June 21, 1833, as an example of 

Newfoundland landscape : — 

" Before six this morning, I was on the shore of Little 
" Beaver Pond, where I stood for a few moments in mere 
" admiration of the day and quiet beauty of the scene. 
" The black, calm pond was sleeping below me, reflecting 
" from its unruffled surface every tree and bush of the 
" towering hill above, as in a perfect mirror. Stretching 
" away to the east were other ponds, embosomed in the 


"mountains, while further on in the same direction, 

" between two distant peaks, the ocean, with the golden 

" sun above it, flashed forth in dazzling splendour. The 

"low, unvarying, somewhat mournful note of the snipes 

"on the opposite hill, and, as one would occasionally fly 

"across the water, the short, quick flapping of his wings, 

"seemed rather to increase than to diminish the general 

"feeling of repose. The air seemed (perhaps from its 

" extreme calmness) to have an extraordinary power of 

" conveying sounds, for I could with perfect ease keep up 

" a conversation with Sprague on the other side (not less 

" than one-eighth of a mile off"), without raising the voice 

" above the pitch used in ordinary discourse." 

The entomological work done in 1833 and the personal 

record of it are so profuse, that the biographer is inclined 

to wonder where the duties of the counting-house came in. 

But Mr. Elson was spending the summer in England, 

which gave a little more leisure than usual, and the 

young man became a kind of interesting local celebrity. 

The sons of Mr. Elson had a pleasure-boat of their own, 

the Red Rover, and she was placed at Philip Gosse's 

service for visiting the islands. One of the captains, 

Mr. Hampton, became an enthusiastic pupil of the young 

naturalist, and collected ardently for him in southern ports 

of Europe and Africa. Even the townspeople vied with 

one another to be on the watch for strange-looking insects 

" for Gosse's collection." His desk in the counting-house 

stood against' one of the windows, and in the window-sill, 

close to his right hand, he kept his card-covered tumblers, 

in which he watched the development and transformation 

of many species while at his work. Mr. Elson never made 

the slightest objection to this, and from these simple 

apparatus many a fact was learned. In the summer of 

1833 he began, under the title of Entomologia Terrce-novce, 


to fill a volume with drawings of great scientific accuracy. 
Some of the figures were magnified, and for this purpose 
he had brought with him from Poole two lenses, which 
he contrived to mount very decently in bone, securing 
the substance from the dinner-table, and grinding and 
shaping it wholly by himself. The lens itself was 
neatly set in putty ; and this rough but sufficient instru- 
ment was the only microscope which he was able to 
procure for many years. It rendered him an immense 
amount of service in his investigations. He also made a 
scale for his own use, out of an old tooth-brush handle ; 
graduating it on one side to tenths, and on the other side to 
twelfths, of an inch ; and this, in contempt of all modern 
improvements, he continued to use until the year of his 
death. His journal for 1833 closes with the following 
remarks : — 

^^ December 31. — One year of my entomological 
" researches in this country has passed away. It has 
" been to me a pleasant and a profitable one ; for, though 
" I have not been so successful as I anticipated in the 
" capture of insects, I have gained a good stock of 
" valuable scientific information, as well from books as 
" from my own observations. The season has been, from 
" its shortness and the general coldness of the weather, 
"particularly unfavourable to the pursuits of the ento- 
" mologist ; several species of insects which I have 
" noticed in former years have been either very scarce 
" or altogether wanting. I have not seen a single 
"specimen of the large swallow-tailed butterflies this 
"year, nor heard of one, though some years I have 
" observed one yellow species in considerable numbers. 
" The Camberwell Beauty, too, I have not met with. 
" The claims of business, moreover, have prevented me 
" from giving so much time and attention to science as 


'' I could have wished, so that, considering my oppor- 
*' tunities, I have no reason to complain of vv^ant of 
" success. Besides the specimens which I have already 
" sent, and those which I have to send, to England, I 
'' have collected in the different orders as follows : — 
" Coleoptera, 102 species ; Hemiptera, 29 ; Lepidoptera, 70 
"(15 butterflies and 55 moths) ; Neuroptcra, ^^ ; Hymen- 
'' optera, 69; and Diptera, 75, making a total of 388 
" species, not including the foreign insects received from 
'* Spain. ... I enter upon the coming year with un- 
" abated ardour, and with sanguine expectations, trusting 
" that, if I am spared, it will prove still more successful 
"and profitable than the past." 

The year 1833 closed socially for Newfoundland in 
ominous thunders. Ever since the colonial legislation had 
been granted, the Irish party had been striving to gain a 
monopoly of political power. Party spirit ran high ; 
Protestants went in mortal fear, for the Irish everywhere 
vastly outnumbered them, and threatening glances and 
muttering words beset the minority. One St. John's 
newspaper, The Public Ledger, was on the Protestant side, 
and was edited by a young man of much spirit, Henry 
Winton, a friend of my father's. He advocated the 
colonial cause with wit and courage, and was in con- 
sequence greatly hated. He was, in the course of this 
winter, round in the Bay, collecting his accounts, when one 
night, walking alone from Carbonear to Harbour Grace, 
he was suddenly seized in a lonely spot by a set of fellows, 
who pinioned him, while one of their party cut off both 
his ears. This outrage created an immense sensation, and 
caused a sort of terror among the loyalists. A perfunctory 
inquiry was made, but the Irish influence prevented it from 
being carried far. It was soon known that the mutilation 
was the act of a Dr. Molloy, a surgeon of Carbonear, with 



whom the clerks at Elson's were well acquainted ; but he 
escaped all punishment The state of things which pre- 
vailed at that time in Newfoundland was a direct reflection 
of the condition of Ireland, at that moment swayed by the 
oratory of Daniel O'Connell. Large contributions were 
being sent home from the colony to swell " the O'Connell 
thribbit," as it was called ; and Newfoundland was fast 
becoming a most unpleasant place to live in. 

The year 1834 passed, almost without incident, in 
absorbing attention to natural history. To understand 
the difficulties under which PhiHp Gosse laboured, it must 
be borne in mind that no one in Newfoundland had ever 
attempted to study its entomology before ; that there 
were no museums, no cabinets to refer to for identification, 
in the whole colony — no list of native insects ; that the 
young man was entirely self-taught ; that he was poor, and 
could not buy what, in fact, did not exist if he had had the 
money. In October, 1834, Captain Hampton brought 
back for him, from Hamburg, a cabinet for insects which 
had been made there by Gosse's order and strictly accord- 
ing to his written directions. This was three feet high, 
three feet long, two feet wide, with twelve drawers, and 
folding doors. It was ill planned ; the drawers were not 
corked, and therefore the specimens had to be pinned 
into the wood, which was deal throughout ; the substance 
was but slight, and when he came to travel, he found it 
very unsatisfactory. However, it served its turn, and 
Gosse was too good a workman to grumble at his tools. 
His only written guide was the system of terse, highly 
condensed, intensely technical generic characters out of 
Linnseus's Systema NatiircE, as printed in the article " Ento- 
mology " in Tegg's London Encyclopcsdia. These characters 
he copied out, and they were of great value. He studied 
them most intently ; was often puzzled, discouraged, but 


ever returned to the attack. He made many mistakes, 
which experience gradually corrected. The want of books 
cast him the more upon nature, and so he stru^c^f^lcd on, 
constantly increasing his acquaintance with actual facts, 
and laying a solid basis for book-knowledge whenever it 
might fall in his path. 

All this time, the religious fervour to which allusion has- 
already been made continued to keep pace with the 
scientific. Philip Gosse joined the Wesleyan Society, being 
led in that particular direction mainly by two new friends, 
G. E. Jaqucs and his wife, the former a colonist settled 
in the town of Carbonear, the latter an English lady. He 
presently became very intimate with them, spending his 
Sundays at their house, and frequently his week evenings. 
This friendship, to which reference will often be made in 
these pages, lasted more than forty years, and it should be 
noted here that it was mainly owing to the influence of 
this estimable couple that my father adopted a view of his 
duty to his fellows which henceforward, though in a fluctu- 
ating degree, never left him, and which towards the close of 
his life became paramount, namely, his belief that it was 
proper to exclude from his companionship all those whose 
opinions on religious matters did not coincide with his own. 
That I know this to have been the result of intense 
conscientiousness and a conviction that his duty lay in 
such isolation, must not induce me to pretend that the 
effects of it were not in many ways deplorable, or that it 
did not narrow, more than any other of his characteristics, 
the range of his sympathy and usefulness. He, however, 
of course, thought otherwise. He wrote, long afterwards, 
'* My friendship with the Jaqueses was very helpful to my 
spiritual life. It alienated me more and more from the 
companionship of the unconverted young men of the 
place ; it was a marked commencement of that course of 


decided separateness from the world, which I have sought 
to maintain ever since." 

Although his religious practice then, as ever afterwards, 
was rigid and Puritanic to an unusual degree, he had a 
seventeenth-century freshness in mingling the human mood 
with the Divine. In letters of this period I find, side by 
side with outpourings of devotion and aspirations after 
godhness, quaint passages of simple humour. Philip Gosse 
took his place in the singing gallery at the Wesleyan 
Chapel, where his brother William led the instrumental 
part with the first violin. "Other chaps," he remarks, 
" and a few ladies swell the choir." One evening in the 
week they met to practise in the gallery, and on a single 
occasion, at least, he records that they all walked to Har- 
bour Rock, a commanding eminence overlooking the port 
of Carbonear, and clustering there, sang a hymn under the 
summer stars before they separated. Two other of Elson's 
clerks, who had become " serious," in like manner attached 
themselves to the choir of the Established Church, and 
practised there in the evenings. Gosse would often join 
them, and the party would go home together. The old 
parish clerk, one Loader, was a character. He kept a 
school, but was quite illiterate. His office, of course, made 
incumbent upon him a zealous Protestantism. He would 
come to the counting-house, and glancing up at the Roman 
Catholic chapel, with a patronising smile on the clerks, 
would talk of " the misguided papishes, ye know ! " One 
stormy Sunday the clergyman had not ventured over from 
Harbour Grace, and Loader thought it a fine chance for 
his own ministrations. He ran over to his house, close by, 
and returning with a book, mounted the pulpit, and read a 
flaring red-hot sermon of denunciatory character against 
popery : " Then there was Hildebrand, or, more properly 
speaking, Firebrand," etc., etc.— the whole read out in a 


miserable, limping style, but with thumping- emphasis on 
the more incisive passages. Sad to say, in spite of his 
orthodoxy, poor Loader was a confirmed drunkard. One 
Saturday night, as my father and his colleagues were 
coming home from their several choir-practice, the snow 
being deep, they saw a dark object lying across the ditch. 
They went to it, and, behold ! it was Loader, fallen help- 
lessly on his front, happily in such a manner that his face 
hung over the ditch. ** Why, Mr. Loader, is this you ? 
What's the matter?" ''Let me alone!" "Can we help 
you, Mr. Loader ? You mustn't lie here, you know, Mr. 
Loader ! " " Go along, ye imperdent fellers ! Can't you 
see I'm a — looking — for — something? G'long!" They 
managed, however, to drag him to his own door, much 
against his will, he protesting to the very last that he had 
been "looking for something." 

Philip Gosse's indentured engagement with the firm had 
expired in the spring of 1833. Since then he had remained 
on, with no expressed agreement, as copyer, receiving 
a small salary, besides board and lodging. Hitherto he 
had formed no plans for the future. In the autumn of 
1834, his friends Mr. and Mrs. Jaques, their mercantile 
business in Carbonear not being very successful, were 
turning their eyes towards Upper Canada as a residence. 
They had met with some flaming accounts of the fertility 
of the regions around Lake Huron, and of the certainty 
of success being attained in agriculture by emigrants 
settling there. They determined to remove thither and 
begin life anew as farmers in a Western forest. Philip 
Gosse's intimacy with them had by this time become very 
close. He could not support the notion of parting with 
them ; and, moreover, the social gloom which hung over 
Newfoundland in consequence of the ever-increasing ran- 
cour of the Irish, was making the colony extremely 


distasteful to him. He, also, was fired by the highly 
coloured reports of the emigration advertisements, and 
thought that, as he was young and strong, he was sure to 
make a capable farmer. Then, too, there^ was the charm 
of the unknown ; of life under totally new conditions ; 
the romance of what was then the Far West, of the bound- 
less primeval forests. 

These are the only motives confessed in his letters of the 
time, but under and behind all these there was another 
unuttered even to himself, but stronger than all. He had 
pretty well exhausted the entomology of Newfoundland. 
It was a cold, barren, unproductive region. He longed to 
try a new field. One of the numerous works they read 
that winter — for they all three eagerly devoured everything 
about Canada that they could find — was a pleasant volume 
of gossip by a lady, in which she enthusiastically and in 
much detail, although unscientifically, described the insects 
and familiar flowers of Upper Canada. The account was 
attractive enough to fire the young naturalist's imagination, 
and thenceforth the time seemed long till he could wield 
his butterfly-net in the forests of Acadia. 

The vigorous faith with which he calculated on success 
may be gathered from an extract from a letter to his 
younger brother, dated December i, 1834: — 

" Now I have a serious proposal to make to you, which 
" I hope and ardently trust will meet not only your 
" approval, but your warm co-operation. I ask by this 
" opportunity mother, father, and Elizabeth to come out 
" to me at Canada, not immediately, but in a year or tivo, 
" when I have, by God's blessing, got up a home on my 
" estate for them to come to. My plans I detail in my 
" letters to them, and if they accede to my requests 
" you must stay and bring them out. But if they think 
" the undertaking too great, please let me know whether 


'^ you will be willing to cast in your lot with us. Wc 
" would have all things common ; we could entomologizc 
" together in the noble forest, and, in the peaceful and 
" happy pursuits of agriculture, forget the toils and 
" anxieties of commerce.* Not that our lives will be 
" idle, for we shall have to work with our own hands, 
" but there will be the pleasing and stirring consciousness 
** that our labour is for ourselves, and not for an unkind, 
" ungrateful master. The land where I go is exceeding 
" fertile and productive, and, with little more than half 
" the toil necessary on an English farm, it will yield not 
" only the necessaries, but even the luxuries of life. I 
" want you to bring no money with you ; yourself I 
" desire. ... I shall not leave this country until the 
" middle of May. I take for granted that you will join 
" me ; do not let me be disappointed. Well then, this 
*' ensuing summer do all you can in procuring insects for 
" your cabinet, even oi those which you have already, as 
" it will probably be your last opportunity of ever get- 
" ting English insects. If you have not time to set 
'' them, never mind, only pin them ; it is not of the least 
" consequence, as I can do them again at any length of 
** time, and however dry they may have got. . . . Mr. 
" and Mrs. Jaques know that I am inviting you to join 
" us, and they earnestly desire you to come. I have 
" learned to stuff birds, and there are beauties in Canada. 
" We could make a nice museum." 

It was the old story, the familiar and pathetic optimism 
of the emigrant, but that they had to comprehend from 
sad experience. For the moment, everything favoured the 

* All this unconscious Fourierism curiously foreshadows the coming co-opera- 
tive projects in America. What my father proposed in 1834 was attempted 
at Fruitlands by Alcott in 1839, and carried out, after a fashion, at Brook Farm 
in 1840. 


scheme. In the spring of 1835 PhiUp Gosse received 
replies. His brother ardently responded ; but the rest of 
the family had no such enthusiasm, and not only refused 
to join the farm colony, but sought strongly to dissuade 
Philip from what they did not scruple to stigmatize as 
madness. He was not dissuaded, however, and continued 
to elaborate the plans by which, with his slender savings, 
he meant to buy a hundred acres of virgin soil. He spent 
pretty nearly all his evenings with the Jaqueses, eagerly 
reading every scrap of information about Canada, forming 
plans, and discussing prospects. One evening, on coming 
home, as Mr. Elson had not quitted the parlour, Philip 
Gosse went in and abruptly announced his intention of 
leaving. It happened to be a severely cold night, the 
effect of which was to benumb his organs of speech, and 
he spoke abruptly, with a stumbling thickness of pronun- 
ciation. Mr. Elson made no remark, received the notice 
with coldness, offered no remonstrance, and expressed no 
sorrow at parting, nor any allusion to his eight years' 
service. It is possible that, from Mr. Elson's point of view, 
Gosse, with all his foreign interests, had ceased to be a 
valuable or even an endurable occupant of the counting- 
house, conscientious as he intended to be. After the 
friendly relations which had existed between them, it was 
none the less unfortunate that master and man should part 
on terms so far from cordial on either side. But Philip 
Gosse had unconsciously grown too large a bird for the 
little nest at Carbonear. 

( 89 ) 




ON Midsummer Day, 1835, Philip Gosse took a final 
farewell of the little town which had been his home 
for eight years, and set off, full of sanguine anticipations, 
for a new life of liberty and enterprise. He walked from 
Carbonear to Harbour Grace, where the Cajiiilla was lying, 
and went on board of her to sleep that night, to be joined 
next morning by Mr. and Mrs. Jaques. In the course of 
this, his last walk in Newfoundland, he saw in flight what 
all those years he had been looking for in vain — a specimen 
of the large yellow swallow-tail butterfly. He gave chase 
to it at once, and, after a long run, succeeded in capturing it 
easily with his hat, for it was very fearless. In the evening 
a boy brought out to the vessel for him a large cockroach, 
of a kind not native to North America, which he had 
picked up in the streets, dropped perhaps out of some 
cargo of sugar. This quaint species of tribute was his last 
gift from Newfoundland, a country in which he was destined 
never to set foot again. He took on board a variety of 
chrysalides, caterpillars, and eggs, the premature transfor- 
mation of some of which gave him a great deal of anxiety. 
How completely he was absorbed in his duties as the nurse 
of these insects may be amusingly gathered from his diary, 
in which, for instance, in turning for some information 



regarding that important day on which he landed in the 
new country of his adoption, I find these words and no 
others : — 

''July 15. — As I this day arrived at Quebec, I pro- 
" cured some lettuce for my caterpillars, which they ate 
" greedily." 

The voyage from Harbour Grace to Quebec, a com- 
paratively short distance on the map, proved an intolerably 
tedious one, from lack of wind. In the St. Lawrence the 
strong ebb tide continually carried them back during the 
night, running down with such force that it was impossible 
to stem it without a strong breeze up. The only resource 
was to cast anchor during the ebb and take advantage of 
the flood tide, which runs upward five hours in every 
twelve. They suffered from want of fresh food, and it was 
annoying to their appetites to pass close to little wooded 
islands stocked with ostentatious rabbits, and have no 
chance of rabbit-pie. On the nineteenth day they landed 
for ten minutes on Grosse Island, where the quarantine 
establishment was, and this was an agreeable refreshment. 
At length their impatience was rewarded, and they pene- 
trated to the very heart of that land of promise from which 
they anticipated so much. They saw it in a golden light, 
and in these words, which betray his enthusiasm, Philip 
Gosse described his approach in a letter home : — 

" On Wednesday last, as we were favoured with a fair 
"wind, we weighed and set sail very early, proceeding 
" along the fertile and well-cultivated Isle of Orleans, 
"which, as well as the south bank of the river, was 
"smiling in luxuriance and loveliness. When we had 
" passed the end of Orleans we opened the noble 
" Cataract of Montmorenci, a vast volume of foaming 
"waters rushing over a cliff of immense height. We 
" now came in sight of the city of Quebec, which being 


"on the side of a hill, and gradually rising, like the seats 
" of a theatre, from the lower town on the water-side to 
" the upper town, and on to the lofty heights of Abra- 
" ham, far exceeded in grandeur even my raised antici- 
" pations. When the officers of quarantine had visited 
" us we went on shore and took lodgings. In the 
" evening we enjoyed a pleasant walk to the Heights." 
They had intended to settle, as has already been said, in 
the London district of Canada, on the shores of Lake 
Huron. But already, at their first arrival, their hopes 
were dashed. Those in Quebec who knew the interior, 
and who were sympathetic with their inexperience, gave 
an account of that country which was very different from 
the roseate descriptions of the advertisements. At all 
events, said these new friends, decide nothing until you 
have at least seen the eastern townships of the Lower 
Province. Thither accordingly, after four days spent in 
Quebec, they all proceeded in an open carriage, and visited 
a partially cleared farm in the township of Compton. 
This they agreed to buy, and ten days later they all came 
back to Quebec. This excursion, taken in the height of 
summer and when everything looked its very best, was 
admirably fitted to confirm the party of settlers in their 
conviction that they had found a land flowing with the 
milk and honey of prosperity. The profusion of butter- 
flies, which of course he could not stop to catch, dazzled 
Philip Gosse's imagination, so that the important matter 
of selecting a scene of residence and occupation for life, 
since that was their intention, never once arrested his 
serious thought. He wTOte long afterwards, in reference 
to this settlement at Compton, ''I felt and acted as if 
butterfly-catching had been the one great business of life." 
They immediately removed from Quebec, with their 
slender store of goods, to Compton, and took possession of 


their farm. The village was on the river Coatacook, a 
tributary of the St. Francis, in the county of Sherbrooke, 
very near the angle formed by a line drawn south from 
Quebec and one drawn east from Montreal. It was 
thirteen miles distant from the town of Sherbrooke, and 
about twenty from the frontier of the state of Vermont, 
U.S.A. What the farm consisted of, and what their labour 
in it, may be plainly seen, though still through somewhat 
rose-coloured spectacles, in the following extract from a 
letter written November 4, 1835, to his friend. Dr. P. E. 
Molloy, in Montreal : — 

" I like my location here very much ; it seems the 
" general opinion that our farm was a bargain : — one 
" hundred and ten acres of land (forty-five cleared), a 
" frame-house, a log-house, a frame-barn, young orchard, 
"four tons of hay, etc., for ^100 — £^0 in hand, the 
"remainder in two annual instalments. It is a pic- 
" turesque-looking place, containing hill and dale, hard 
" and soft wood, and streams of water. The first thing 
" I did was to cut the hay which was on my allotment. 
" This I did by hired labour ; I made it chiefly myself. 
" I then ploughed a field of about six acres, except 
*' three-quarters of an acre, which was done by hired 
" labour. I found ploughing rather different from book- 
" keeping, but not near so difificult nor so laborious as 
" I had expected. Since then I have been collecting 
" stones from the fields, which are very numerous in 
" some parts, and dragging them off, I have had about 
" six acres of wild land (from which the heavy timber 
" had been cut before) cleared of logs and bushes, and 
" am getting them ploughed ; though I intend trying to 
" do part of this myself. My intended next year's crops 
"will be as follows: — Three acres wheat; three acres oats; 
" one acre peas ; two acres turnips ; three acres potatoes ; 


" perhaps one acre buckwheat ; eight acres grass ; and 
" four acres pasture. Sometimes at first, when weary 
" with labour, and finding things rather awkward, I was 
"inclined to discontent; but that soon wore off: the 
"thought of projected improvements and anticipated 
" returns, together with the beauty of the country and 
" freedom from the bustle of the counting-house, have 
" dispelled the gloom, and I am now as merry as a 
" cricket all day long. I have made successful applica- 
"tion for the conducting of one of the Government 
"schools through the winter, say four months, at the 
" rate of i^3 per month, besides board. This will help 
** my finances, though I am not compelled to have recourse 
" to it, having still a few pounds in my pocket-book. 

** You ask if we have to work severely : I think I may 
" say no ; our labour is occasionally Jiard, but not severe — 
" not nearly so hard to learn as I anticipated. As our 
" minds were set on the Upper Province, it is hard to 
" draw a comparison between our expectations and the 
" realization, as it is so different from our anticipations ; 
** but I think I may say we are not disappointed. On 
" no account would I change my acres for my place at 
" Slade, Elson, and Co.'s desk. Society here is almost 
" wholly ' Yankee.' Their manners are far too forward 
" and intruding for our English notions, still all are not 
" so ; there are some very agreeable and good neighbours. 
" I much regret that you did not come here to reside the 
" winter. Pardon me for saying you could have boarded 
"much more cheaply in the village than I take for 
"granted you would in a city like Montreal, and perhaps 
" realize nearly as much practice. We shall eagerly look 
" forward to the promised pleasure of seeing you in the 
" spring, if all be well. I think you will find it advan- 
"tageous to cultivate a small farm in addition to your 


" professional pursuits : suppose it were only twenty 
" acres, it would materially aid your domestic economy. 

" And now, as you have ' drawn me out ' by asking 
" about entomology, pardon me if I mount my hobby 
" for a few moments. Since my arrival, I have enriched 
" my cabinet with a great number of new and splendid 
" insects ; indeed, to a naturalist, this country holds out 
" a charming field of exploration in all branches of 
"natural history. My agricultural labours are not so 
" severe or so engrossing as to prevent xsxy having some 
"time to devote to the pursuit of my interesting science, 
" of which I do not fail to avail myself. When I was 
"in Quebec, I made the acquaintance of one or two 
" members of the Literary and Historical Society, who 
"introduced me to their museum, and promised to pro- 
" pose me as a corresponding member. (A correspond- 
"ing member must be a non-resident, and/^jj- no fees.) 
" I have written to Quebec since I have been here, but 
" have received no answer, so I suppose the promise has 
" been forgotten. Perhaps you have become acquainted 
"with some of the members of the Natural History 
" Society of Montreal ; if so, would you be kind enough 
"to inquire if a person residing here could be admitted 
" as a corresponding member, and if so, what qualifica- 
" tions would be required, what fees, etc. t I have col- 
"lected many duplicate specimens of insects which I 
"had intended for the museum at Quebec, but if they 
" would be received at Montreal, I should prefer sending 
"them there. Perhaps it would not be troubling you 
" too much, to ask if there are at present any entomo- 
" logical members, and whether they are scientific. I 
" should like very much to have some scientific friend 
" in this country, with whom I could correspond. I 
" hope you will excuse my boldness in asking so many 


CA.YADA. 95 

"favours at once, especially as I have not had the hap- 

" piness of being able to confer any." 

In addition to what is said above, it may be explained 
that the hundred and ten acres which formed the farm 
were divided by the high-road into two portions. The one 
consisting of fifty acres, but having a frame dwelling-house 
and barn, fell to Mr. Jaques ; the western section, of sixty 
acres, having a log-hut, an apple-orchard, a young maple- 
sugary, and four tons of hay, Philip Gosse took for his. 
This statement, however, gives much too favourable a 
notion of the enterprise. Only about a third of the acreage 
was cleared and in cultivation, and the whole farm, 
although originally of good land, was sadly neglected and 
exhausted by the miserable husbandry of its former pos- 
sessors. The new tenant bought a horse and a cow, 
stabling them in the log-hut. His first labour was to get 
in his hay, and then he undertook to plough about five 
acres, himself both holding and driving. He got three 
acres more cleared of bushes and underwood, and ploughed, 
by hired labour. These eight acres were all his tillage 
land at first, and he divided them, as he had proposed, 
between wheat, barley, peas, and potatoes. In all the 
farm work he was quite unaided by the Jaqueses, the 
notion of all toiling together, in an atmosphere of refined 
intelligence, for a common purse, having broken down at 
the first moment. The two laborious little farms had to 
be w^orked independently, and Philip Gosse paid a modest 
sum as a boarded lodger. In August they got into their 
house, and one of Gosse's earliest acts was to paint the 
outside of it with a mixture of skim milk and powdered lime. 

The Jaqueses, in particular, were soon disillusioned. Mrs. 
Jaques, who had been brought up as a lady, and who was 
then nursing a baby, found it almost intolerably irksome 
to carry out the entire labour of the house herself, but they 


could afford no servant. The two men, also, found the 
practical drudgery of the farm work very different from 
the idyllic occupation which it had seemed in fancy, and 
through the pleasant telescopes of hope and romance. 
Their hands grew blistered with the axe and the plough ; 
their backs ached with the unwonted stooping and strain- 
ing ; no intellectual companionships brightened their 
evening hours ; their neighbours, few and far between, were 
vulgar and sordid, sharp and mean ; they saw no books, 
save those they had brought with them. So far as my 
father was concerned, this painful isolation from the outer 
world of man, though disagreeable, was not harmful. It 
thrust him more and more on the society of nature. 
Entomology had been his pastime ; it was now his only 
resource, and what had been a condiment and the salt of 
life grew now to be its very pabulum. The toil at the 
plough was harsh and exhausting, but not nearly enough 
so to dim his intellectual curiosity. His mind, the tendency 
of which was always to flow in a deep and narrow channel, 
concentrated all its forces in the prosecution of zoological 
research. In summer, as soon as his labour in the fields 
was over, he would instantly sally back to the margins of 
the forest, insect-net in hand, all fatigue forgotten in one 
flapping of a purple wing. His entomological journals, 
continued throughout the whole of his residence in Canada, 
are a memorial of his unflagging industry and success in 
the pursuit of science. It was these journals which later 
on formed the basis of his first published volume, The 
Canadian Naturalist of 1840. 

The toil would have been less difficult to endure, if the 
returns had been commensurate. But in these, as in almost 
everything else (except the butterflies), the emigrants were 
grievously disappointed. Their neighbours described their 
first season as abnormally unpropitious ; frosts came un- 


usually early in 1836, so that the unripe corn-crops were 
frozen and spoiled. From whatever cause it might be, and 
penuriously as they lived, they presently found that they 
were not making both ends meet. Existing as they did in 
wretched poverty, it was depressing to find that, even so, 
their toil was insufficient to maintain them. They soon 
became convinced that they had made a serious mistake 
in swerving from their original intention of choosing the 
Upper Province, but still more in buying a wasted and 
exhausted farm. It is true that about half of Philip 
Gosse's acres were as yet virgin forest, which he might 
have reclaimed and cultivated. But they consisted, for 
the most part, of " black timber " — that is to say, the species 
of pine, spruce, and fir which indicate low and swampy 
soil, unfit for ploughing. Perhaps if he had more per- 
severance, or a little capital, he might have turned this into 
meadow. But his personal strength and skill were not 
equal to the huge effort of clearing forest-land, and he soon 
ceased to have the power to hire even the poorest labour. 
He was accustomed, long afterwards, to reflect with 
bitterness on what he might have done if they had kept to 
their plans, and struck for the shores of Lake Huron. But 
bearing in mind the conditions of the experiment, I cannot 
feel that the result would have been much better. No 
doubt the land they could have bought in the North-west 
would have been far more fertile than at Compton, but it 
was clothed with heavier timber, which they would have 
been obliged to fell even before they could build a hut to 
cover their heads. The labour would have been far more 
severe, the life even more recluse and savage. But the 
real fact is that my father had no natural gift for agricul- 
ture ; he was not one of Emerson's " doctors of land, 
skilled in turning a swamp or a sandbank into a fruitful 
field." The thoughts that came to him at the plough were 



dry thoughts ; there was no fresh flavour of the earth about 
them. If it had not been for the blessed insects he must 
have died of ennui. 

It was not, however, for a long while that Philip Gosse 
realized his disappointment. The rose-colour was in no 
hurry to rub off. In September, 1835, he writes home to a 
friend in Poole, relapsing into the old familiar vernacular, 
" I am now become such a farmer that I believe I could 
smack a whip with ere a chap in the county o' Dorset." 
He was full of enthusiasm for the natural beauties of the 
Canadian autumn. In the same letter he writes : " The 
trees are now beginning to fade in leaf, which causes the 
forest to assume a most splendid appearance. The foliage 
is of the most gorgeous hues ; the brilliant rich crimson of 
the maple, the yellow of the elm, the orange and scarlet of 
other trees, set off by the fine dark green of the beech and 
the nearly black of the cedars and pines, give a beauty, a 
splendour, to the landscape which cannot be conceived by 
those who have not seen it." The following extract is 
from a letter to his father, dated June 11, 1836 : — 

" I have to work with my own hands. To be sure, I 
" have not felled many trees yet, except for fuel ; nor is 
" it necessary, as I have several large fields which have 
"been many years in cultivation. However, if you could 
" peep at me, you would haply see me at the tail of the 
" plough, bawling at the top of my voice to the horses ; 
"or casting the seed into the ground ; or mowing the 
" seedy grass ; or pitching the sun-dried hay to the top 
" of the cart. The country is a lovely one, especially 
"at this most charming season — -forniosissivius annus — 
"when the ground is covered with grass and flowers, and 
" the woods adorned with masses of the richest foliage, 
"enlivened by birds of sweet song and gay plumage. I 
"have seen the beautiful Tanagi^a rudra, with his coat 


" of brilliant scarlet and dccp-bluish wings and tail. The 
"ruby-throated humming-bird, too, begins to appear, 
" with its loud hum as it sucks the nectar of some 
"syngenesious flower, its fine eyes darting hither and 
" thither, its wings invisible from their rapid vibration, 
"and its throat glowing in the sun like a flame of fire. 
" Then the woodpeckers, with their caps of deep scarlet ; 
" the pine grosbeak, with its pink and crimson plumage ; 
*' and others, qicos mine, etc. You asked me if I had shot 
" any turkeys or deer ; you know not how good a shot 
" I am. I have shot at a squirrel three times successively, 
"without doing him any 'bodily harm,' without even 
*' the satisfaction of the Irish sportsman who made the 
" bird * lave that, any way ; ' for the squirrel would not 
" leave the tree, but continued chattering and scolding 
*' me all the time. However, wild turkey is not found 
" east of Lake Erie. Deer come round in the winter, 
*'and sometimes get into our fields, and eat the standing 
" corn in autumn ; I have seen some that were shot by 
"a neighbour, but they were does and had no horns. 
"They looked much like our fallow deer, but larger. 
" The reindeer or caribou, as it is called, and the moose 
" occasionally, but rarely, are taken. I have seen a few 
** Indians, belonging to the St. Francis tribe : some of 
'* them encamped within a few miles of us last winter ; 
"but they are a poor, debased, broken, half-civilized 
" people, not the lordly savage, the red man of the far 
" West ; not such as Logan or Metacom of Pokanoket." 
He was not, however, entirely thrown upon nature for 
intellectual resources at Compton. Teachers of the town- 
ship schools, which were held in the winter, were in demand, 
and he found no difficulty in obtaining an engagement for 
the dead months of each of the three seasons he resided 
in Canada. The teacher received free board and i^io for 


the season of twelve weeks, which PhiUp Gosse found a 
very timely alleviation of his expenses, though the occu- 
pation was unpleasing to his taste and irksome to his rapid 
habit of mind. But the ever-present stimulus of scientific 
investigation kept up his spirits, and there began to grow 
up within him a new sensation, the definite ambition to 
gain scientific and literary distinction. The first en- 
couragement from without which came to him. in his 
career, the earliest welcome from the academic world, 
arrived in the early spring of 1836, in the modest shape of 
a corresponding membership of the Literary and Historical 
Society of Quebec. This was quickly followed by a 
similar compliment from the Natural History Society of 
Montreal. These elections, indeed, conferred in themselves 
no great honour, for these institutions, in those early 
colonial days, were still in their boyhood, and too inex- 
perienced to be critical in their selection. It was none the 
less a great gratification to the young man. He contributed 
papers to the Transactions of either society, sending to 
Montreal a Lepidoptera Comptoniensa and to Quebec an 
essay on The Temperature of Newfoundland and Notes 07i 
the Comparative Forwardness of the Spring in Newfou7idland 
and Canada. He also sent to the new museum at 
Montreal a collection of the lepidoptera of Compton. 
All the while he was keeping his copious daily journal of 
observations, a diary which lies before me now, and from 
which I extract one day's record as a sample of the rest : — 
''August 10, [1835]. — I took a walk before breakfast 
"to a maple-wood, where I spent a few hours very 
"pleasantly. There was one large but quite decayed 
" tree, whose trunk was pierced with very many holes, 
" and in almost every hole were the remains of a Sirex, 
" almost gone to dust — a large species somewhat 
" resembling Sirex gigas. There were also remnants of 

CANADA. loi 

"many beetles, among which was a Biiprestis, like one I 
"caught at Three Rivers, and several bright red beetles 
" new to me, which have some characters of Lucanus. 
" There were many oval cases, as large as pigeons' eggs, 
*' containing exiivics of some beetle, and in one I found a 
" Scarabmis, as that of 8th inst., complete though decayed. 
" In another rotten tree I found several Juli, some of 
'•which were of gigantic size. While in the wood, I 
"heard a loud hum, and looking round saw what I took 
" to be a large insect, but viewing it more intently, I 
" saw it was a humming-bird of an olive colour, poising 
" itself before some tubular flowers, and inserting its bill 
" for an instant, then whisking to another like lightning ; 
" while I stood motionless, it came and sucked flowers 
" within a yard of me, but on the least motion was off 
"to a distance. I saw the star crane-fly of Newfound- 
" land. On coming home I found to my sorrow that, 
" having put the large chafer of yesterday into my store- 
" box, pinned but not dead, he had got his pin out of 
"the cork, and had been amusing himself during my 
"absence, carrying his pin about the box and biting 
" other insects. He has spoiled a pearl-border fritillary, 
" a tiger-moth, and, what I regret most of all, he has bitten 
" two of the wings off the great Hemerobms of 30th ult." 
During the winter of 1835-36, he made his first serious 
attempt at book-making, TJie Entomology of Neivfotmd- 
land. The manuscript is still in existence, for, though he 
completed it, he made no attempt to find a publisher for it. 
Indeed, his lack of systematic knowledge, and of the then 
present condition of zoology, rendered it probably what 
would have been considered by London savants as unfit 
for publication, although the amount of actual observation 
recorded at first hand, occasional anecdotes, and descriptions 
of habitats around Carbonear constitute a store from 


which, to this day, a more orderly work on the insects of 
Newfoundland might, no doubt, with great propriety be 
enriched. The main value of this lengthy production was 
the familiarity with the use of the pen which it supplied. 
It is a main feat for an unfledged author when he succeeds 
in setting Explicit at the bottom of a body of manuscript. 
He has learned the lesson of literary life, not to grow 
weary of well-doing. The unlucky Entomology of New- 
foundland was a mere preamble to a far more important 
occupation, that of collecting materials for a work, the 
pecuniary success of which was to be an epoch in my 
father's life, and to make him an author by profession. 
This was his Canadian Naturalist. " The whole plan of 
this work occurred to me," he says in a letter of 1840, " and 
was at once sketched in my mind, one day as I was 
walking up to Tilden's, the road that led along from my 
maple grove westward through the woods. It was a lovely 
spring day, the nth of May, 1837, the day before my 
brother arrived. I had a large amount of material 
already in my entomological journal, and thenceforward I 
kept my eyes always wide open for every other branch 
of natural history. It was Sir Humphrey Davy's 
Salmojtia ; or Days of Fly-Fishing, that formed my model 
for the dialogue. The work remains a vivid picture of 
what chiefly engaged my thoughts during my three 
Canadian years." He ceased, with this wider ambition, to 
be merely an entomologist ; he became a naturalist in the 
broader and fuller sense. 

During the first eighteen months his letters home were 
still sanguine, and, despite the discomforts and limitations 
of the life at Compton, he continued to urge the members 
of his family to join him. In May, 1837, in fact, his younger 
brother came, but stayed only six months, and returned, 
bitterly disenchanted, to England. I do not, indeed, find it 

CANADA. 103 

quite easy to comprehend my father's condition of mind 
throughout this year. lie continues, in spite of all dis- 
appointment, to importune his father, mother, and sister 
to "be ready to come out and live under the protection of 
my wing," and talks, so late as the autumn of 1837, of 
having " some idea of getting out the materials of a house 
in the following winter, to be erected in the south-west 
corner of my Leghorn Field." Yet he had already, in July 
of the same year, advertised his farm at Compton for sale, 
not failing to mention in the terms his " garden of rare 
exotic flowers ; " for he had enclosed a corner opposite the 
house, and had cultivated with success the seeds and plants 
which his brother had brought from Poole, and others that 
he had collected from friends around. As this season closed 
in, and his crops, which he had sanguinely persuaded 
himself were better than those of his neighbours, proved 
to be lamentable failures, his thoughts, unwillingly at first, 
but soon more and more, began to turn to some other 
scene and some other occupation for the living which 
seemed to be obstinately denied to him in Canada. The 
disastrous visit of his brother was the last straw, and the 
back of his optimism was broken at length. During the 
autumn he was vexed and disturbed by having to appear 
in court to give evidence in a criminal case against one of 
his few neighbours ; and for some weeks he was laid up 
with acute rheumatism. On November 4, 1837, he wrote 
a very melancholy letter to his sister Elizabeth, and, 
after upbraiding and yet excusing himself for having in- 
duced his brother to make so untow^ard an expedition, he 
continues — 

"For myself, I have lately been somewhat brought 
" down by sickness : nothing very alarming, but sufficient 
" to disable me in a great degree from labour ; in conse- 
" quence of which I have become very backward in my 


" work, such as getting in my crops and ploughing. I 
" beheve my complaint to be an attack of rheumatism, 
" brought on by a chill taken during a day's work in the 
"field amidst heavy rain. Besides this, however, which 
"was trifling, though painful, I have suffered from a 
"general debility of body, with a depression of mind, 
" from which I am not yet freed, though I am recovering. 
"Could any employment be obtained at home? I am 
" tired of more than ten years' exile, far from friends and 
" kindred. I have been thinking that I might do well 
" by establishing a school in Poole, or in some of the 
"neighbouring towns. Is there any opening? Would 
" a school at Parkstone do ? I should be very glad if 
" you would let me know by the first spring vessel. If 
" you give me any encouragement, I will endeavour to 
" sell my farm, and, please God, embark for Poole next 
" fall. I believe I am competent to take a respectable 
" academy, teaching all the ordinary branches of 
" education, mathematics, book-keeping, Latin, and the 
"rudiments of Greek and navigation. I should be glad 
" of a change of food, for I live on buckwheat and pig's- 
" meat." 

About the same time he urged a former Newfound- 
land companion, who had just got a clerk's situation in 
Philadelphia, to inquire what chances there were for 
him in that city, either mercantile or scholastic. And 
in the ensuing winter he had made up his mind ; for he 
wrote to this same friend on February 5, 1838, as 
follows : — 

" My purpose is to sell my farm at any sacrifice, and 
" take the first opportunity of the Hudson navigation to 
" proceed south. My eye is towards Georgia or South 
" Carolina, as I understand persons of education are in 
" demand there, both in mercantile and academical 


CANADA. 105 

" situations. I believe, however, that I shall take 

" Philadelphia in my course, and if anything can be 

" done there, I shall not proceed further." 

This scheme soon ripened into accomplishment, and on 
March 22, 1838, having realized the farm and stock as 
best he could, he left Canada for the United States, his 
friend Jaques driving him in his waggon as far as Bur- 
lington, on Lake Champlain. 

This is the moment, perhaps, briefly to recapitulate the 
results of the three years which had elapsed since he left 
Newfoundland. As a monetary speculation, he had done 
deplorably. He was twenty-eight years of age, and he was 
not possessed, when all his property was told, of so many 
pounds. By his change from Carbonear he had greatly 
increased his toil ; he had lived much more meanly and on 
a coarser fare, had been more poorly clad, and had suffered 
in general health. To set against all these losses there 
were two or three considerations. The mercantile house 
which he had left in Newfoundland had, during these three 
years, rapidly fallen into grave difficulties, and had broken 
up, the clerks being dispersed to seek fresh employment. 
The state of society in the colony had by this time, through 
the ever-increasing turbulence and lawlessness of the Irish 
population, become almost unbearable for Protestants. 
But the great, the only, counterbalance to the wretched 
disappointments and privations of these years in Canada 
was the constant advance in scientific knowledge and range 
of mental vision, which was checked, if at all, only during 
the physical trouble of the last six months. 

From the distressing correspondence of this period, with 
its patient record of poverty, fatigue, and deferred hope, 
I turn gladly to the professional journals, with their 
unflagging note of triumph, and I permit myself one more 
extract. It is not thrilling, perhaps, but I take it as an 


example of that extraordinary power of retaining the results 
of minute observation which made my father unique 
among the naturalists of his time, and to find a parallel to 
which it was then necessary to go back to Gilbert White of 
Selborne : — 

" On September 5, 1837, I and my brother visited the 
" Bois Brule. We went up by Bradley's Brook, and on 
"the bank I found a new thistle, with crenated leaves. 
"The first quarter of a mile lay through a very rough 
" slash, where \ve had to climb over the fallen trees and 
" through the limbs ; and, to make it worse, these were 
"concealed by the tall wickup * plants with which the 
"ground was absolutely covered, and as the seed-pods were 
"just bursting, every movement dispersed clouds of the 
" light cottony down, which getting into our mouths and 
"nostrils, caused us great inconvenience. Presently we 
"descended the steep bank, and walked, or rather 
" scrambled, up the rocky bed of the stream by means 
" of the stones which were above water, though, as they 
"were wet and slimy, we occasionally wetted our feet. 
" Thus we went on, sometimes in the stream, sometimes 
" among the alders and underwood on the banks, for 
" about a mile and a half. I met with many specimens of 
" fruits and seeds which I had not [found] before, espe- 
" cially the orange cup-flower, the handsome scarlet fruits 
" of the white and the red death, bright blue berries, etc. 
" In pressing through the brush, I got my clothes be- 
" daubed with a nasty substance, which I discovered to 
" proceed from thousands of the Aphis lanigera, which 
" I had crushed. They were so thickly clustered round 
" the alder branches as to make a solid mass, half an 
" inch thick, covered with ragged filaments of white 

* Or "wickaby," the leather-plant (Dirca palustris), a shrub common in 
the Canadian woods, and covered in spring with small yellow blossoms. 

CANADA. 107 

" down. The insects were much larger than most of the 
" genus, and of a lead-grey colour. 

" We were getting nearly tired of the ruggedness of 
"our path, when we suddenly came upon a new and 
" very good bridge across the brook, made of sound logs, 
" which connected a good broad bridle-path, from which 
"the fallen logs, etc., had been cleared away, and which 
"had been used for the purpose of drawing out mill logs. 
"As its course seemed to be nearly parallel with that of 
"the brook (about south-west), we preferred pursuing it, 
" as being much more pleasant and more easy of travel. 
"The sides of the road were lined with the stumps of 
" large spruces and hemlocks which had been felled the 
"previous winter, and the road itself was strewn with 
" the chips of the axe-men. The course lying through 
" a cedar swamp, the ground was mossy, and in some 
"places wet; here the scarlet stoneberry {Corniis 
''Canadensis) was abundant, as well as the berries 
''m.entioned before. The former was ripe, and we ate 
" very many ; they are farinaceous and rather agreeable. 
"We followed this path till it appeared almost intermi- 
'* nable, though its tedious uniformity made it seem 
"longer than it really was, as I suppose we did not walk 
" more than a mile and a half on it, when I saw by the 
"increasing light that we were approaching a large 
" opening. 

" We now pressed on and found that we had reached 
" the Brule, which was not a clearing, as I had expected, 
"but covered with stunted and ragged spruce, from 
"eight to twelve feet high, exactly resembling the small 
"woods of Newfoundland on the borders of the large 
" marshes. I found also the same plants, which I now 
"saw for the first time in Canada. The ground was 
"covered with the same spongy moss, with shrubs of 


" Indian tea {Ledum latif.\ gould {Kalmia glauca and 
'' K. ajigiistif.), and other Newfoundland plants, and, above 
"all, numbers of that curious plant, the Indian cup or 
" pitcher plant {Sarraceiiid), in flower, the leaves being 
" all full of water. I brought home specimens as well 
"of other curious flowers. The road merely touched 
" the edge of the Brule, and went straight on, entering 
" the tall woods on the other side, emerging as I under- 
" stand on the Hatley road, about a mile or two further. 
" We went a little way into the Brule to see if there was 
"any clearing, but could perceive no change in the 
"ugly, dead, half-burnt spruce, and therefore returned. 
" This singular piece of ground consists of some 
" thousands of acres, and is said to owe its origin to the 
" beavers, which were formerly numerous, damming up 
" the streams, which, spreading over the flat land, killed 
"the growing timber. It is a resort of wolves and other 
"wild animals, though we perceived no sign of life in 
"the stillness which pervaded the solitude; nor indeed 
"in all the journey, with the exception of one or two 
" little birds which were not near enough to identify, and 
" a few insignificant insects in the forest. 

" Having satisfied our curiosity, we began to return as 
"we came, until we arrived at the bridge, when, instead of 
" retracing the course of the stream, we crossed the bridge, 
" and continued to pursue the road, which for some dis- 
"tance led us through towering spruces and hemlocks 
" as before. On a sudden w^e found the sides lined with 
"young maple, birch, beech, etc., which met overhead 
"at the height of about twelve feet, forming a very 
" perfect continued Gothic arch, or rather a long series of 
" arches. This long green avenue was the most pleasant 
"part of our walk, and the more so as it was quite 
" unexpected. We presently opened upon a large field 

CANADA. 109 

" which had been just mown, but which I had never 
"before seen, nor could I recognize any of the objects 
" which I saw. There appeared to be no outlet through 
" the woods by which it seemed to be environed. There 
" was the skeleton of an old log-house, without a roof, in 
"one part, and a portion of the field was planted with 
"potatoes. We at length saw a path through these 
" potatoes, and we walked on till, coming to the brow of 
" a hill, we perceived the river, with Smith's mills, and 
" the rest of that neighbourhood. The road appeared to 
" lead out towards Mr. Bostwick's, but we took a short 
'^ cut, and came by the back of Webster's barn, and so 
" by Bradley's mill, and home. I forgot to observe that 
" we were much surprised in going up the brook, about 
" a mile up, at coming upon a ruined building, which had 
"been erected over the stream, of which the timbers were 
" fallen down, and some of them carried some distance 
*' downwards by the freshets. I supposed it must have 
" been a mill, but wondered at its situation so far from 
" any road. I have since been informed that it was a 
" sawmill, which was built by Messrs. S. and D. Spafford, 
"and that there was a good road to it, which went 
" through P. O. Barker's south-west field ; but being now 
" overrun with bushes, it escaped our notice. The mill 
" has been disused near twenty years." 




THE only piece of valuable property which Philip 
Gosse took with him from Canada was the cabinet 
of insects which he had had made years before in Hamburg, 
and which was now tightly stocked with the selected species 
of six years' incessant labour. The space in it was so 
limited that he had been fain to use not merely the usual 
floor of each drawer, but the tops as well, and even the 
sides. As has been said, the thing had been a cheap affair 
at first, and none of the drawers being lined with cork, the 
pins which fastened the insects had to be insecurely thrust 
into the deal wood itself He had scarcely started from 
Compton on Mr. Jaques's light travelling waggon when he 
began to suffer from a mental agony which can scarcely be 
exaggerated. His poor shaky cabinet, with its frail con- 
tents, jolting over the hard-frozen roads, rough and desti- 
tute of snow, began more and more to give forth a rustling 
and faintly metallic sound which told him only too clearly 
that the pins were coming loose ; and soon he sat there, 
in a condition of misery beyond speech or tears, the witness 
of a catastrophe which he was absolutely powerless to 
avert, watching in a wretched patience the cabinet, in which 
the delicate captures of his last years were being ground to 


His was a temperament which could not, however, for 
any length of time be depressed. After three years of 
confinement to a dreary Canadian township, he was now 
seeing the world again, and, what was important, going 
southwards, to warmth and sunlight. As they drove 
through the numerous villages of Vermont, he was capti- 
vated by the pretty, neat, and trim houses of wood, brightly 
painted, and as different as possible from the gaunt log- 
houses of Compton. In the woods he saw for the first 
time glades full of the paper-birch (Mr. Lowell's "birch, 
most shy and ladylike of trees "), with its dead-white bark, 
so unlike the glossy and silky surface of the common 
birch. One night they heard "from the most sombre and 
gloomy recesses of the black-timbered forest the tinkle of 
the saw-whetter. The unexpectedness of the sound struck 
me forcibly, and, cold as it was, I stopped the horse for 
some time to listen to it. In the darkness and silence of 
midnight the regularly recurring sound, proceeding too 
from so gloomy a spot, had an effect on my mind, 
solemn and almost unearthly, yet not unmixed with 
pleasure. Perhaps the mystery hanging about the origin 
of the sound tended to increase the effect. It is like the 
measured tinkle of a cow-bell, or regular strokes upon a 
piece of iron quickly repeated." It is supposed that the 
saw-whetter is a bird, but I believe that the author of this 
sound, familiar to New England woodsmen, has never been 
positively identified. 

Late on the third day the travellers reached Burlington. 
The vast and frozen lake, a huge expanse of snow, crossed 
in every direction by dirty sledge and sleigh tracks, was 
dreary and uninteresting. Jaques immediately returned, 
and Philip Gosse was left in this remote Yankee town, 
without a single acquaintance in the wide world, and 
utterly depressed in spirits. The same night, since there 


was nothing to tempt him to stay at Burlington, he took 
his place in the stage-coach, a rough sort of leathern 
diligence, which carried a third seat hung transversely 
between the front and back seats. A middle-aged woman 
occupied one seat, and Gosse the other, and thus they 
spent the night, swinging dully along the frozen road with- 
out a word passing between them. In the middle of the 
night, at some village where the concern changed horses, 
Philip Gosse got out for some refreshment ; dizzy with 
broken sleep, he laid his purse down on the bar counter, 
with seven dollars in it, and stumbled back to the coach 
without perceiving his loss. The uncouth stage-coach dis- 
gorged him at Albany in the quiet of an early Sunday 
morning. He instantly embarked ^on the steamer, and was 
running all that day down the beautiful ranges of the 
Hudson. But curiosity was almost as dead in him as hope. 
He spoke to no one on board, he formed no plans and 
took no observations ; only at the Palisades he woke up to 
some perception of the noble precipices under which they 
were passing. He had not even the wretched excitement 
of examining the shattered contents of his insect cabinet, 
for the stage-coach had peremptorily refused to take that 
piece of furniture on board, and it had been left at 

In the evening he reached New York, landed on a 
crowded wharf, and in Liberty Street, the nearest thorough- 
fare, sought out a sordid hole, in which he took one night's 
lodging and shelter for his boxes. He made no attempt 
to explore New York. His slender pittance was fast melt- 
ing away, and he had many a league to traverse yet 
before he could hope, in ever so slight a measure, to recruit 
it. In the morning, therefore, without going up a single 
street, he steamed across the broad Hudson, and took the 
railway, the first he had ever seen, across the flat sands 


of New Jersey. Before noon on March 26, he had crossed 
the Delaware and had set foot in Philadelphia. 

In the Quaker city he had an old friend, one of his 
former fellow-clerks at Carbonear, Mr. W. F. Lush, settled 
in the office of the American Colonization Society. This 
young man carried him off to his own boarding-house, 
where Gosse also took lodgings, and stayed very pleasantly 
for above three weeks. In this establishment were several 
other young fellows, comrades of Lush's, who received the 
new-comer agreeably. The long solitary years in Canada, 
however, had set an indelible mark on the face and 
manners of the naturalist. He found it impossible to join 
in their gaiety of conversation, and they asked Lush 
privately if " Gosse was a minister," being struck with his 
fluent gravity in monologue and lack of capacity for small- 
talk. It was in Philadelphia that he first enjoyed the 
sympathy and help of genuine men of science. At the 
museum in Chestnut Street, he met Mr. Titian R. Peale, 
a local zoological artist of considerable eminence, who 
charmed him at once, and surprised him by his deferential 
civility and his instinctive recognition of this grim-featured, 
unknown youth as one destined to be " somebody." Mr. 
Peale was just then starting as the artist of an exploring 
expedition to the South Seas, under Lieutenant Charles 
Wilkes, and he was particularly interested in the exquisite 
drawings of insects v/hich Philip Gosse had brought from 
Canada. A more distinguished man of science was Pro- 
fessor Thomas Nuttal, the botanist, whom he discovered 
in the herbarium of the Academy of Natural Science. In 
his diary my father calls him "venerable/' although he was 
little more than fifty at the time. By Professor Nuttal's 
invitation, he attended an evening meeting of the society, 
and met many of the American savants. The distinguished 
Philadelphian zoologist, Dr. Joseph Leidy, then a boy of 



sixteen, tells me that he recollects my father on one of 
these occasions — a proof that his personality, unknown as 
he had been, awakened some general attention. The 
society and its visitors sat around a table in the great hall 
of the museum, candles dimly and ineffectually lighting up 
the space. In the gallery, just above their heads, sat the 
skeleton of a murderer, riding the skeleton of a horse, the 
steed galloping, and the ghastly rider flourishing his up- 
lifted hand with an air of great hilarity. Part of the social 
entertainment consisted in looking over some fine coloured 
plates of American fishes, just out ; among which Gosse 
recognized, with interest, the large, richly coloured sculpen 
{Cott2ts), so common in the clear water round the wharves 
of Carbonear. 

It seems to have been suggested to him by one of the 
savants of Philadelphia that he would find a useful field 
for his energy in the state of Alabama ; and this gentle- 
man — Mr. Timothy A. Conrad, the conchologist — was so 
kind as to give him an introduction to a friend of his at 
Claiborne, which afterwards proved useful. On Sundays, 
while he was in Philadelphia, he went to the Dutch 
Reformed Church, in Sassafras and Crown Streets. There 
was no pulpit there, but a wide raised platform with chairs. 
The Rev. George Washington Bethune, an eloquent and 
genial man, who died much lamented in 1862, walked to 
and fro as he discoursed, in the manner since adopted by 
Mr. Spurgeon. But Gosse's thoughts in Philadelphia were 
almost exclusively occupied with the memories of Alex- 
ander Wilson, that greatest of ornithologists. Wilson was 
at that time his main object of enthusiastic admiration, 
and he occupied himself in visiting every spot which bore 
reminiscences of the noble naturalist. Here was his 
residence ; in yonder house he " kept school ; " here were 
the birds which his own hands had shot and skinned ; 




here were the very scenes described in his delightful 
volumes ; and the young man made conscientious pilgrim- 
ages to the meadows below the city, to the marshy flats 
of the Schuylkill, to the rushy and half-submerged islets of 
the Delaware, to Thompson's Point, the former residence 
of the night-heron or qua-bird, and to the notorious Pea 
Patch, resort of crows in multitudes. He found an old 
man who had personally known the ornithologist, although 
Wilson had at that time been dead twenty-three years ; 
but although Wilson had been a constant visitor at 
his house, the old man could relate little about him that 
was characteristic. One thing he said was sufficiently 
memorable. " Wilson and I," he said, " were always 
disputing about the sparrows. He would have it that the 
sparrows here were different from those in the old country. 
I knew well enough they were just the same, but I could 
not persuade him of it." It is scarcely necessary to say 
that the American sparrow is wholly distinct from the 

The delay in the hospitable city of Philadelphia was, 
however, not altogether the result of his admiration for the 
museums or pleasure in the associations of the past. It 
was due to the difficulty he found in obtaining transit to 
the South. At length he engaged a passage in the White 
Oak, a small schooner bound to the port of Mobile. He 
sailed on April i8, and the voyage, a very picturesque and 
interesting one, occupied nearly a month. They were two 
days getting down to the Delaware Bay, for they were 
constantly running aground on the spits and banks which 
lay under the mirror-like surface of the river. At last, 
after loitering in the mean fishing village of Delaware City, 
they were off down to the ocean. It was exceedingly 
cold, although they were in the latitude of Lisbon, and 
ice a quarter of an inch thick formed on deck. At first, 


Philip Gosse was very miserable. He was the only pas- 
senger, and the skipper was a churlish, illiterate fellow, 
with a crew of the same stamp as himself. The fact that 
Gosse was a " Britisher " was quite enough to warrant 
them in the perpetration of a score of petty incivilities, just 
short of actual insult. "The conversation," he says, "was 
of the lowest sort, and it was not the smallest infliction 
that every night I was compelled to hear, as I lay in 
my wretched berth, the interchange of obscene narratives 
between the skipper and his mate, before I could close my 
eyes in sleep. Dirt, dirt, was the rule everywhere ; dirt in 
the cabin, dirt in the caboose, dirt in the water-cask ; dirt 
doubly begrimed on the tablecloth, on the cups and 
glasses, the dishes and plates that served the food ; while 
the boy who filled the double office of cook and waiter 
was the very impersonation of dirt." The cabin was a 
filthy hole, hardly large enough to stand up in, redolent 
of tar, grease, fusty clothes, mouldy biscuit, and a score of 
other unendurable odours combined, such as only those 
can imagine who have been the tenants of a small trading 
craft. The single berth on either side " in dimensions and 
appearance resembled a dog-kennel more than anything 
else, the state of the blankets being, thanks to the grave- 
like darkness of the hole, but partially revealed, to sight at 
least." The only resource was to eat with as little thought 
as possible, to see as little as possible, and to be on deck 
as much as possible, and this last habit was furthered by 
the glorious weather which set in soon after they were 
well out to sea. 

For the first few days he was horribly sick, and spent 
the time in his little, close, dirty cabin, with nothing to 
relieve the tedium of the voyage. But on the 24th he 
came on deck to find that they were in the latitude of 
Savannah, and had entered the Gulf Stream. He fished 


up some of the gulf-weed and amused himself with 
examining it : — 

" Many of the stems and berries were covered with a 
" thin tissue of coral, like a very minute network ; many 
" small barnacles {Lepas) were about it ; some shrimps 
" of an olive colour with bright violet spots ; small crabs, 
" about half an inch wide, yellow, with dark-brown spots 
" and mottlings, one with the fore-half of the shell white ; 
" some small univalve shells, and some curious, soft, 
" leathery things, almost shapeless. I put all the animals 
" I could collect into water, and watched their motions. 
" One of the small shrimps swam near a crab, which 
" instantly seized it with his claw. With this he held it 
" firmly, while with the other claw he proceeded very 
** deliberately to pick off small portions of the shrimp, 
" beginning at the head, which he put into his mouth. 
*' He continued to do this, maugre the struggles of the 
"shrimp, sometimes shifting it from one claw to the 
" other, until he had finished ; he picked off all the 
" members of the head, and the legs, before he began to 
" eat the body, chewing every morsel very slowly, and 
'' seeming to enjoy it with great gusto ; when only the 
" tail was left, he examined it carefully, then rejected it, 
'' throwing it from him with a sudden jerk." 
Within a week after the sharp frosts already mentioned, 
the vertical rays of the sun were making the deck almost 
too hot to touch. But to one who had languished so long 
in sub- arctic climates, this was a blessed change. On they 
swept through the meadow-like Gulf Stream, ploughing 
their noiseless way through the yellow strings of sargasso- 
weed, or accompanied by splendid creatures unknown to 
the colder waters of the North. Rudder-fish, with pale 
spots, would pass in and out beneath the stern ; a shoal of 
porpoises would come leaping round the bows, in the cool- 


ness of the moonlight, and start off again together into 
the darkness. A shark would play about the ship, with its 
beautiful little attendant, the purple-bodied pilot-fish. The 
exquisite coryphenes, or sailor's dolphins, were the ship's 
constant companions, their backs now of the deepest azure, 
almost black, and then suddenly, with a writhe, flashing 
with silver or gleaming with mother-of-pearl, lounging 
through the water with so indolent an air that to harpoon 
them seemed child's play. One of the crew, however, 
trying this easy task, fell off the taffrail with a splash. 

On May i they caught the welcome trade-wind blow- 
ing from the east, and this fresh breeze carried them 
cheerily in sight of the West Indies. They rapidly passed 
the southern point of Abaco, one of the Bahamas, and 
Gosse saw for the first time on its precipitous shores the 
fan-like leaves of the palm tree. While in sight of Abaco 
two beautiful sloops of war passed them, beating out, and 
a little schooner, all of which hoisted the British flag at 
the gaff-end. It was three years since the exile had seen 
this pleasant sight, and he hailed with deep emotion the 
colours of that " meteor flag " which has " braved a thou- 
sand years the battle and the breeze." Next day the 
White Oak had an excellent run, and rushing before the 
freshening trade, threaded an archipelago of those count- 
less " kays," or inlets, which animate the Florida Reef 
" The water on this reef," says the journal, "is very shoal, 
which is strongly indicated by its colour ; instead of the 
deep-blue tint which marks the ocean, the water here is of 
a bright pea-green, and the shallower the water, the paler 
is the tint. To me it is very pleasing to peer down into 
the depths below, especially in the clear water of these 
southern seas, and look at the many-coloured bottom, — 
sometimes a bright pearly sand, spotted with shells and 
corals, then a large patch of brown rock, whose gaping 


clefts and fissures are but half hidden by the waving 
tangles of purple we.ed, where multitudes of shapeless 
creatures revel and riot undisturbed." Almost through 
one day their course bore them through a fleet of " Portu- 
guese men-of-war," those exquisite mimic vessels, with 
their sapphire hulls and pale pink sails, whose magic navi- 
gation seems made to conduct some fairy queen of the 
tropics through the foam of perilous seas to her haven in 
an island of pearl. 

All these glorious sights in halcyon weather did not, 
however, last long. The ship was already within sight of 
the last kay of the long reef, when a violent storm of rain 
and a westerly gale came on. They were glad to drop 
anchor at once between Cayo Boca and Cayo Marquess, 
two green little islands of palm trees and sand. The crew 
set themselves to fish in the rain, and soon pulled out of 
the water plentiful fishes of the most extraordinary harle- 
quin colours, vermilion-gilled, amber-banded, striped like 
a zebra but with violet, or streaked with fantastic forked 
lightnings of pink and silver. Next morning. May 5, broke 
in radiant sunshine, and as the wind continued foul, the 
captain proposed to go ashore and take a peep at Cayo 
Boca, a suggestion which Philip Gosse warmly seconded. 
The sailors rowed for a long white spit of sand, and the 
naturalist leaped ashore, and rushed into the bushes 
brandishing his insect-net. He expected to find this first 
specimen of West Indian vegetation studded with brilliant 
tropical insects, but he was disappointed. The bushes had 
thick saline leaves, and insects were very rare. Gosse pre- 
sently turned back to the shore, and found the corals and 
madrepores more interesting than the entomology. But 
the wind had veered, and he was forced, reluctantly, to 
humour the captain's impatience to return to the ship. A 
little white butterfly danced away to sea with them, flut- 


tcred a moment up the side of the vessel, and then flew 
gaily back to her home in Cayo Boca. 

When they were fairly in the Gulf of Mexico, creeping . 
past the Tortugas, numbers of sharks were swimming 
round and under the vessel, accompanied by a multitude 
of what they at first supposed to be young ones of the 
same species. As one or two rose to the surface, however, 
they turned out to be remoras, or sucking-fish. The men 
struck first one and then another of these curious creatures 
with a barbed spear, and secured them alive. These 
specimens my father thus describes : — 

"They are about two feet in length, very slender, 
" slippery, not covered with scales, but a sort of long flat 
" prickles, concealed under the skin, but causing a rough- 
" ness when rubbed against the grain. The colour is blue- 
" grey above, and whitish beneath ; the tips or edges of 
" all the fins, and of the tail, light blue. The tail is not 
"wedge-shaped, but slightly forked. The under lip 
" projects beyond the upper, so that the mouth opens on 
"the upper surface, as that of the shark does on the 
" lower. The sucker is a long oval, slightly narrower in 
" front, having a central, longitudinal ridge and twenty- 
" four transverse ones, which can either be made to 
"lie down flat, or be erected, not however perpendicu- 
" larly, but inclined backward ; the pectoral and ventral 
" fins are of the same shape and size, as are the dorsal 
" and anal. . . . While at liberty they were in close 
" attendance on the shark, one or two on each side, 
"generally just over his pectoral fins, and keeping their 
" relative position, turning as he turned ; sometimes they 
"appeared belly upward, adhering to the fin of the 
"shark, at others they seemed loose. Numbers, how- 
" ever, were in their company without so closely follow- 
ing them. Now, in captivity the sucker adheres to 


"everything it touches, provided the surface will cover 
'•the organ, apparently without the volition of the 
"animal, and so strongly as to resist one's endeavours 
" to drag the fish up, without inserting something under 
"the sucker. I have cut off the sucker of one for 
" preservation." 

Next morning the captain speared a dolphin {Coryphcena 
psittacus), and Gosse eagerly watched for those changes of 
colour which are popularly supposed to attend the death 
of these creatures. He was not disappointed. When the 
expiring animal was first brought on board, it was silvery 
white, with pearly reflections ; the back suddenly became 
of a brilliant green, while the belly turned to gold, with 
blue spots. This was the only change, except that all 
these hues became dusky after death. They cooked the 
fish, and found it firm and palatable. Little occurred in 
the last tedious days of the voyage, beyond a terrific 
tropical storm. Once a sailor hooked a king-fish, three 
feet long, silvery blue, with opaline changes, and had just 
dragged it in, when a shark leaped at it, like a dog, and 
drew his fangs through the body. They were happy at 
last when, on the morning of May 14, after a voyage 
of four weeks, a long, low tongue of land, with a light- 
house at the end of it, announced their arrival at Mobile 
Point. The bay is a difficult one to enter ; at last, about 
thirty miles up from the gulf, on turning a sandy cape, 
covered with pine trees, the city of Mobile came into sight. 
Philip Gosse's last entry in the diary of his voyage is thus 
worded : — 

" Drawing so near to the time on which hangs my 
" fate, my means nearly exhausted, and uncertain what 
"success I may meet with, I have been all to-day 
"oppressed with that strange faintness, a sickness of 
" heart, which always comes over me on the eve of any 


"expected conjunction. The pilot left us when we got 

" within the bay, up which we are rapidly sailing with a 

" fair breeze, in delightful weather." 

He was conscious of great depression of spirits as he 
walked that evening through the streets of the city of 
Mobile. The experiment, indeed, which had brought him 
so far from all his associations was a bold one. He had no 
certainty of any welcome in the strange, crude country 
into which he was about to penetrate, and it came upon 
him with a shock that he had but one letter of introduction 
in his wallet, and that given to him by a stranger. Next 
morning this distressing feeling had worn off. He was 
glad to be on shore again, and he spent the greater part of 
the day in roaming about the woods in the vicinity of 
Mobile, where he found great numbers of interesting in- 
sects. Near the shore he met with impenetrable hedges 
of prickly pear, studded with its handsome flowers and 
purple fruit. The latter he rashly tasted, to find his 
mouth filled with an agony of fine spines, which gave him 
infinite toil and pain to tear out. 

There was nothing to detain him in Mobile, and that 
same evening he took passage in the Fmnner, one of the fine 
high-pressure steamers which thronged the Mobile wharves, 
fifty years ago, far more abundantly than they do now, since 
at that time the commerce of the city almost promised to 
rival that of New Orleans. After a voyage of two nights 
and a day spent in following the interminable windings of 
the Alabama river, a voyage through a country which had 
no towns or villages, and scarcely a sign of life, except at 
the occasional wood-yards in the forest, the vessel arrived 
at King's Landing. It so happened that a fellow-passenger 
on board the Farmer was the Hon. Chief Justice Reuben 
Safifold, a jurist then of great eminence in the South, who 
had done good service in the Indian troubles, and had for 


many years been a member of the legislature of the terri- 
tory of Mississippi. Now, in advancing life, he was settling 
in that estate at Dallas, Alabama, which was henceforward 
to be his residence, and the place of his death in 1847. To 
this dignified and agreeable personage, whose polished 
manners formed a charming contrast to the rough tones he 
had lately been accustomed to, Philip Gosse showed his 
open letter of introduction to the planter at Claiborne, 
which Mr. Conrad had given him. It fortunately happened 
that Judge Saffold was seeking a master for a school com- 
posed of the sons of his neighbour proprietors and him- 
self He instantly engaged Philip Gosse, and when the 
steamer reached King's Landing, which was the nearest 
point on the river to Dallas, the latter stopped there ; Mr. 
Saffold proceeding a little further on business, and pro- 
mising to meet him at his own house next day. 

An hour before dawn he was landed at the foot of a 
long flight of steps which descended from a large cotton 
warehouse. His trunks were thrown to him, and the 
steamer wheeled away in the darkness. Mr. Safifold's house 
was ten miles distant, and how to find it he knew not. He 
groped along a path up into the forest, and presently came 
to a clearing with several houses in it. He made his way to 
the door of one, where a rascally cur kept up a pertinacious 
barking, and he knocked and shouted to no purpose. At 
length, at another house, the cracked voice of a negro 
woman replied. He told her he was on his way to Pleasant 
Hill, and asked her to get him some breakfast. All sound 
within the house died away, till he knocked and shouted 
again, always to receive the same answer, " Sah .? Iss, 
sah ! " At last, when patience was wearing away, the old 
woman appeared, went to another house, and began to 
shout, " Mas' James ! Mas' James ! " But Master James was 
even more impassive than she had been herself, and made 


no answer at all. At length, after a prodigious waste of 

time, and as the soft daylight began to flood the air, a 

little white boy of twelve years of age appeared at the 

door. This was Master James, the son of the manager, 

who rubbed his eyes, stated that the negro woman and 

himself were the only persons on the premises, and 

tumbled back into bed. The woman then raked in the 

ashes and prepared Gosse some breakfast, his luggage all 

this while remaining on the lowest step at the margin of 

the river. But before the meal was over. Master James 

strolled to the threshold, blew a long blast upon a conch, 

and, on the simultaneous appearance of a dozen negroes 

out of the woods, sent some of them down for the visitor's 

trunks. While Philip Gosse waited for them to reappear, 

in the balmy air of the wood-yard, several fox-squirrels 

descended and chased one another from bough to bough 

of the nearest oaks, a pair of summer redbirds {Tanagra 

cestivd) were flirting almost within reach of his hand, and a 

flock of those delicate butterflies, the hairstreaks {Thecla), 

came dancing to him down a glade in the forest. Under 

these picturesque conditions he gained his first impressions 

of Southern life. 

At the pace of one mile an hour he spent the remainder 
of the day in reaching Dallas. The road lay through 
the romantic forest, descended into cool glens, where 
hidden rivulets ran brawling under bowers of the profuse 
scarlet woodbine, emerged in high clearings where brilliant 
flowers, in veritable bouquets, thronged the angles of the 
fences. He passed fields where negro slaves, the first he 
had seen at work, were ploughing between rows of cotton ; 
he hurried through neglected pastures where turkey 
buzzards were performing, none too soon, their scaven- 
ger's duty on a too-odorous carcase ; he feasted upon wild 
raspberries and luscious Virginian strawberries ; and, at 


last, late in the afternoon, arrived at Dallas, where he was 
hospitably welcomed by the family of Judge Saffold, 
and in particular by his son, Reuben Saffold, junior, who 
was to be his pupil. This youth, who was of a charming 
modesty and courtesy, had been at college, and had 
learned the rudiments of Greek. 

At Dallas Philip Gosse spent several agreeable days while 
arrangements were being made for his school to be opened. 
This house was large, but rudely built, and furnished with 
an elegance which contrasted with its rough architecture. In 
this respect, no doubt, it was not distinguished from other 
residences of wealthy planters at the time. What more par- 
ticularly struck Philip Gosse was the gorgeous furniture 
which Nature itself, in the rich June weather, had provided 
for the front of it. The wide passage, with rooms on either 
side, which ran through the house, was completely em- 
bowered with the lovely Southern creepers ; the twisted 
cables of Glyciite friitescens flung their heavy branches of lilac 
blossom about the walls, and wherever space was left 
it was filled with more delicate forms of profuse bloom, 
with the long pendulous trumpets of the scarlet cypress- 
vine and of the intensely crimson quamoclit, sweet-briar 
that made the hot air ache with perfume, and deep 
Vermillion tubes of the Southern honeysuckle, in which 
great hawkmoths hung all through the twilight, waving 
their loud-humming fans, and gorging themselves on 
sweetness. '' Here," he says, in a letter from Dallas, " par- 
ticularly at the close of evening, when the sunbeams 
twinkle obliquely through the transparent foliage, and the 
cool breeze comes loaded with fragrance, the family may 
usually be seen, each (ladies as well as gentlemen) in that 
very elegant position in which an American delights to sit, 
the chair poised upon the two hind feet, or leaning back 
ac^ainst the wall, at an angle of forty-five degrees, the feet 


upon the highest bar, the knees near the chin, the head 
pressing against the wall so as now and then to push the 
chair a few inches from it, the hands (but not of the 
ladies) engaged in fashioning with a pocket-knife a piece 
of pine-wood into some uncouth and fantastic form." 

He was not, however, to spend his time lolling and 
whittling on the verandah of Dallas. The neighbouring 
village of Mount Pleasant was chosen as the site of his 
school, and lodgings were found for him in the house of a 
planter, a Mr. Bohanan, in the hamlet itself. It was a 
rough frame-house, standing in the middle of a large 
yard, which, with the combined screaming of stark-naked 
little black children at play, the squealing of pigs, the 
gobbling of turkeys, the quacking of Muscovy ducks, and 
the cackling of guinea-fowls, was scarcely an abode of 
peace. It possessed a splendid example of that flowering 
tree of the South, the Pride of China, and a wild cherry, 
the fruit of which was so tempting that all the noises were 
not able to scare away from it the persistent attentions of 
the red-headed woodpeckers. The school-house was a little 
further off, a couple of miles outside the limits of the village. 
It was a queer little shanty, built of round, unhewn logs, 
notched at the ends to receive each other, and the inter- 
stices filled with clay. There was no window, but as the 
clay had become dry it had been punched out of several of 
these spaces, and the light and air admitted. The wooden 
door stood open night and day. The desks were merely 
split and unsawn pine boards, unfashioned and unplaned, 
sloping from the walls and fastened with brackets. The 
forms were split logs, and the only exceptions to the ex- 
treme rudeness of all the fittings were a neat desk and 
decent chair for the schoolmaster. The pupils were as rude 
as the building. Most of them, he writes, " handle the long 
rifle with much more ease and dexterity than the goose- 


quill, and are incomparably more at home in * twisting ' a 
rabbit or treeing a 'possum, than in conjugating a verb." 
But they proved to be decent lads, and a great affection 
sprang up in time between them and their strange, insect- 
collecting, animal-loving master. They grew in time to 
form a volunteer corps of collectors, and their sharp eyes 
to be most useful to the naturalist. 

The school-house was situated in a very romantic spot. 
A space of about a hundred yards square had been cleared, 
w^ith the exception of one or two noble oaks, which had 
been preserved for shade. "On every side we are shut in 
by a dense wall of towering forest trees, rising to the 
height of a hundred feet or more. Oaks, hickories, and 
pines of different species extend for miles on every hand, 
for this little clearing is made two or three miles from 
any human habitation, with the exception of one house 
about three-quarters of a mile distant. Its loneliness, 
however," Philip Gosse writes, "is no objection with me, 
as it necessarily throws me more into the presence of 
free and wild nature. At one corner a narrow bridle- 
path leads out of this 'yard/ and winds through the 
sombre forest to the distant high-road. A nice spring, 
cool in the hottest of these summer days, rises in another 
corner, and is protected and accumulated by being en- 
closed in four sides of a box, over the edges of which the 
superfluous water escapes, and, running off in a gurgling 
brook, is lost in the shade of the woods. To this ' lodge 
in the vast wilderness,' this ' boundless contiguity of shade,' 
I wend my lonely way every morning, rising to an early 
breakfast, and arriving in time to open school by eight 

It is possible to recover something of a record of his 
typical day in Alabama. It opens with breakfast at six 
o'clock ; the " nigger wenches " bringing in the grilled 


chicken and the fried pork, the boiled rice and the 
hominy, the buttered waffles and the Indian bread. A 
little negro-boy is continually waving a large fan of 
peacock's feathers over the food and over every part of 
the table. Breakfast once over, Philip Gosse seizes the 
butterfly-net which stands in the corner of the room, and 
which he always carries, as other sportsmen do their gun, 
and he sallies forth, startling the mocking-bird that is 
hopping and bobbing on the rails of the fence. He 
gives himself plenty of time to chase the zebra swallow- 
tails across the broad discs of the passion-flowers, to lie in 
wait for hairstreaks on the odorous beds of blossoming 
horehound, or to watch the scarlet cardinal grosbeak, with 
his negro face and his mountain crest, leap whistling up 
and up in the branches of the pines like an ascending 
flame of fire. He reaches school, however, in time to open 
that ''^ alma mater',' as he laughingly styles it, by eight 
o'clock ; and for no less than nine hours of desultory 
education, mingled with play and idleness, he is responsible 
for the troop of urchins. 

But five o'clock comes at last, even in the soundless 
depths of an Alabama forest, and he dismisses his wild 
covey of shouting boys, following more sedately in their 
wake. Twilight falls apace, and in a little hollow where 
the oaks and hickories meet overhead, a barred owl flits 
like a ghost across the path, and the air begins to ring 
with the long mellow resounding whoops of the negroes 
on the plantations, calling home the hogs at sunset It 
may be that two or three of these pachydermatous grey- 
hounds, with their thin backs and tall legs, are rooting 
and grazing close to the path. From a mile off will be 
faintly heard the continual unbroken shout of the distant 
negro. Each hog will instantly pause, snout in air, and 
then all is bustle ; and, each anxious to be first at home, 


they scamper off on a bee-line for the village. And so 
Philip Gosse, too, goes home to supper, and to bed in a 
room with every window open, but latticed to keep out the 
bats and birds. Before going to sleep, perhaps, he will sit 
a few minutes at the window, while the chuck-will's-widows 
call and answer from all directions in the woods, with their 
mysterious and extraordinary notes clearly enunciated in 
the deep silence of the night. Gosse tried on many occa- 
sions to see these strange birds, but they are extremely 
shy, although so neighbourly and familiar ; nor was he 
ever successful, although he wearied himself in the 

Mount Pleasant proved to be an excellent centre for 
entomologizing, and in particular there was a little prairie- 
knoll, about a mile from Bohanan's house, which was one 
mass of blue larkspurs and orange milkweed, and a 
marvellous haunt of butterflies. From this small hill the 
summit of an apparently endless forest could be seen in all 
directions, broken only by curls of white smoke arising 
here and there from unseen dwellings. Here he would 
find the blue swallowtail {Papilio pkajtor), with its shot 
wings of black and azure, vibrating on the flowers of the 
milkweed ; the black swallowtail {Papilio asterius), an old 
friend from Newfoundland ; the orange tawny Archippus ; 
the American Painted Beauty {Cynthia Himtera), with its 
embroidery of silver lines and pearly eyes ; and, most 
gorgeous of all, the green-clouded swallowtail {Papilio 
Troilus), over whose long black wings is dispersed a milky 
way of grass-green dots and orange crescents. The 
abundance of these large species struck him with ever- 
recurring wonder. In a letter of July he says: "An eye 
accustomed only to the small and generally inconspicuous 
butterflies of our own country, the Poiiiite, Vanesscc, and 
Hipparchi(S, can hardly picture to itself the gaiety of the air 



here, where it swarms with large and brilliant-hued swallow- 
tails and other patrician tribes, some of which, in the extent 
and volume oi their wings, may be compared to large bats. 
These occur, too, not by straggling solitary individuals ; in 
glancing over a blossomed field or my prairie-knoll, you 
may see hundreds, including, I think, more than a dozen 
species, besides other butterflies, moths, and flies." There 
remains, as the principal memento of these months in the 
south, still unpublished, a quarto volume entitled Entomo- 
logia Alabamensis, containing two hundred and thirty-three 
figures of insects, exquisitely drawn and coloured, the 
delightful amusement of his leisure hours in the school- 
house and at home. His powers as a zoological artist were 
now at their height. He had been trained in the school of 
the miniature painters, and he developed and adapted to 
the portraiture of insects the procedure of these artists. 
His figures are accurate reproductions, in size, colour, and 
form, to the minutest band and speck, of what he saw 
before him, the effect being gained by a laborious process 
of stippling with pure and brilliant pigments. It has 
always been acknowledged, by naturalists who have seen 
the originals of his coloured figures, that he has had no 
rival in the exactitude of his illustrations. They lost a 
great deal whenever they came to be published, from the 
imperfection of such reproducing processes as were known 
in Philip Gosse's day. The Entomologia Alabameiisis, 
however, is one of those collections of his paintings which 
remain unissued, and it is possible that it may yet be pre- 
sented to the scientific world by one of the brilliant methods 
of reproduction recently invented. 

When he first proceeded to Canada, he had described 
himself as a very bad shot ; but practice had improved him, 
and he was now by no means unskilful. He exercised his 
rifle considerably in Alabama, in forming a collection of 


birds, and particularly of woodpeckers. He lost himself in 
the forest one day in June, and in a dense part of the 
woodland, from the midst of a tall clump of dead pines, 
he heard a note proceeding like the clang of a trumpet, 
resounding in the deep silence and waking all the forest 
echoes. These extraordinary sounds came from a pair of 
ivory-billed woodpeckers, the largest and most splendid of 
all the Picus tribe. Piais principalis is a huge fellow, 
nearly two feet long, glossy black and white, with a tower- 
ing conical crest of bright crimson, and, what is the main 
distinction of the species, a polished and fluted beak, four 
inches long, which looks as though it were carved out of 
the purest ivory. With this pickaxe of shell-white bone, 
the bird hews away the dead wood as it hangs openly on 
the perpendicular trunk of a tree, its head thrown back 
and its golden-yellow eyes alert for insects. It is far from 
being common, and my father was glad to secure these 
specimens, which were in fine plumage. Other wood- 
peckers were nearer to his daily haunts. One evening a 
boy came to him and told him of a gold-winged wood- 
pecker {Piais aitratus) at his very door. The schoolboy 
had found a deep and commodious chamber dug out in the 
decaying trunk of a pine-tree in Mr. Bohanan's peach- 
orchard. In the twilight the pair of marauders set forth, 
carrying a ladder w^ith them. After throwing up a few 
stones to frighten out the old bird, she suddenly rushed 
out, and left the coast clear. "The boy," Philip Gosse 
writes, " pulled out one of the callow young, which I gently 
examined. It was nearly fledged ; the young feathers of 
the wings being very conspicuous from their bright golden 
colour. It was not pretty — young birds seldom are. I 
soon put it back again, and then, whether the rest were 
congratulating it on its return, or what, I don't know, but 
if you had heard the odd snoring or hissing that the family 


kept up for some time, you would have thought the whole 
nation of snakes had been there in parliament assembled. 
The anxious mother soon flew in again when we had 
removed our ladder, gratified, no doubt, to find no murder 

He had no opportunity for making many excursions 
while he was at Mount Pleasant, and, indeed, the general 
monotony of the thinly peopled country did not greatly 
invite a traveller. On one occasion (June 2) he rode to 
Cahawba and back, and saw something of the central dis- 
trict of Alabama. Cahawba had then until lately been the 
capital of the state and the seat of government ; it had, 
however, decayed so rapidly, that the legislature had 
removed to Tuscaloosa, Montgomery being as yet a little 
place of no importance. The town of Cahawba stands on 
a point of land between the Alabama river and the 
Cahawba river ; it was, even then, a very desolate looking 
collection of a few stores, a lawyer's office or so, and 
two or three houses of business. Even the "groceries," as 
the rum-shops were called, seemed, as the visitor went by, 
to spread the hospitality of their verandahs almost in vain. 
To reach Cahawba from Mount Pleasant had involved a 
long ride through the dense pine forest, with hardly a 
break save where the path dipped down, through a glade 
of thickly blossomed hydrangea, to some deep and treacher- 
ous "creek" or rivulet. The road led at last to the shore 
of the broad Alabama, and there seemed no way to cross. 
A shout, however, soon brought two old "nigger fellows" 
into sight, slowly pushing a flat ferry-boat across. There 
was no inn or house near by to put up his horse, so the 
traveller took him into a little wood, according to the prac- 
tice of the country, and tied him to a tree. 

The squirrels form a prominent feature of forest-life in 
the Southern States. Deep in the woodlands they are not 


to be observed, but they abound close to the houses of the 
planters, seeming to prefer the neighbourhood of man. At 
Mount Pleasant, the large fox-squirrel was most abundant, 
chattering, barking, and grunting impatiently all day long, 
until a shot from the rifle brings him " protracted repose," 
and prepares him to appear on the planter's dinner-table. 
A little further away, in the swamps, and hidden under the 
pale and ragged tufts of Spanish moss that stream from 
the branches, is the sleepier and less attractive Caroline 
squirrel, also excellent in the form of pie. While my 
father was in Alabama the squirrel question was one of 
great importance in local politics. These delightfully 
amusing animals are, unfortunately, wasters of the first 
order; they are in the cornfield morning, noon, and eve, 
from the time that the grain is forming in the sheath to 
the moment when what remains of it is housed in the barn. 
While Philip Gosse was at Mount Pleasant, a fellow from 
the North sent round an announcement that he would 
lecture in a neighbouring village, and that the subject of 
his discourse would be to reveal an infallible preventive for 
the thefts of the squirrels. The announcement attracted 
great curiosity, and planters assembled from all sides. A 
deputation started from Mount Pleasant itself, and Philip 
Gosse, thinking to hear what would be of interest to a 
naturalist, was of the party. A considerable entrance-fee 
was charged, but very willingly paid. At last the room 
was full, the doors were closed, and the orator appeared on 
the platform. He began^ by describing the depredations 
of the squirrels, the difficulty of coping with them, and 
various other circumstances with which his audience was 
familiar. He was a plausible fellow and seemed to have 
mastered his subject. At last he approached the real 
kernel of his oration. " You wish," he said, " to hear my 
infallible preventive, the absolute success of which I am 


able to fruarantee. Gentlemen, I have observed that the 
squirrels invariably begin their attacks on the outside row 
of corn in the field. Omit the outside row, and they 
won't know where to begin ! " The money was in his 
pocket ; he bowed and vanished by the platform door ; his 
horse was tied to the post, he leaped into the saddle and 
was seen no more in that credulous settlement. The act 
was one of extreme courage as well as impudence in that 
land of ready lynching ; but my father was wont to say 
that, after the first murmur of stupefaction and roar of 
anger, the disappointed audience dissolved into the most 
good-humoured laughter at themselves. 

Another serious depredator, and one of a more sporting 
size, was the bear. One night in August, a negro boy 
rushed breathless into Mr. Bohanan's house, inarticulate 
with importance, and managed to splutter out, " Oh, mas'r, 
mas'r ! big bear in corn-patch ; I see 'im get over." All 
at once was bustle; bullets were cast — "a job," says my 
father in the letter describing this event, " that always has 
to be done at the moment they are wanted " — and the 
planter and his overseer crept out with their rifles to the 
field. But it was too late. The prints of Bruin's paws were 
all over the place, but he had prudently retired. Bears are 
very seldom seen in the woods, being shy and nocturnal in 
their movements. A curious case happened, however, while 
Philip Gosse was in Mount Pleasant, of a planter who was 
riding into the forest to search for strayed cattle, and who, 
suddenly seeing a huge bear start up before him, could 
not refrain from giving it a lash with his cow-whip of raw 
hide. To his dismay, the beast showed a disposition to 
fight, but turned tail at last, when the thought struck the 
planter that he might possibly drive it home, like a re- 
fractory bullock. He actually succeeded in doing this» 
whipping the bewildered bear for six miles along one of 


the cattle-paths, till he came close to his own house, when 
his son came out and put the weary bruin out of its misery 
with a rifle. My father was not an eye-witness of this 
adventure, which I record with all reserve. 

On August 14 he was, however, personally engaged in 
a sporting affair, which it may be amusing to read, de- 
scribed in his own words, in a letter dated the next 
morning. There had been great complaints of the rob- 
beries committed on the estate of a neighbouring planter, 
Major Kendrick, by the opossums, and Philip Gosse was 
courteously invited to stay at the house and take part in 
the nocturnal expedition : — 

"About half-past nine we set out, a goodly and 
"picturesque cavalcade. There was, first, my worthy 
"host, Major Kendrick, a stout sun-burnt fellow of six 
"feet two, as erect as a sundial, grizzled a little with 
" the labours of some sixty years in the backwoods of 
" Georgia, but still hale and strong, with as keen an eye 
" for a wild cat or a 'coon as the stalwart nephews by his 
'* side. His attire would be deemed peculiar with you, 
*' though here it is the approved thing. A Panama hat, 
" made of the leaves of the palmetto, split fine, low in the 
" crown, and very broad in the flap ; a ' hunting shirt,' or 
" frock, of pink-striped gingham, open all down the 
" front, but girded with a belt of the same ; the neck, 
" which is wide and open, is bordered with a frill, which 
"lies upon the shoulders; loose trousers, of no describ- 
" able colour, pattern, or material ; short cotton socks, 
"and stout half-boots, of domestic manufacture. Such 
"is the costume of our 'king of men,' and all the rest of 
" us approach as near to it as we may. 

" But who are ' the rest of us ' ? Why, the two strap- 
" ping youths who call the planter uncle, Zachariah and 
" Bill, each emulous of his patron's stature and accom- 


"plishments ; Jones, the overseer, a wiry fellow, origin- 
"alLy from the far east (Connecticut, I believe), but 
"grown a Southerner by a dozen years' experience in 
*' negro-driving ; and the humble individual who pens 
** these lines, who begins at length to be known by his 
" proper name, instead of * the stranger.' We five were 
" mounted on very capital steeds, and behind and around 
" us marched on foot our sable ministers. 

" It was a lovely night. The sky, almost cloudless, had 
" a depth of tint that was rather purple than blue, and 
" the moon, near the full, was already approaching the 
" zenith. A gentle breeze, warm and balmy, breathed in 
**the summits of the trees, and wafted us the delicate 
" perfumes from leaf, flower, and fruit, from gum and 
" balsam, with which the night air is commonly loaded. 
" Bright as was the night, however, it was thought requi- 
" site to have artificial light, especially as we should have 
" to explore some tall woods, whose gloomy recesses the 
"moon's beams were quite insufficient to illuminate. The 
''knots of the pitch-pine answer admirably for torches, 
" being full of resin, and maintaining a brilliant flame for 
" an hour or more. The glare of broad red light which 
" these flambeaux cast on the leafy walls along which we 
"rode, and the beautiful eff"ect produced on the sur- 
" rounding shrubs and intervening trees when the torch- 
" bearers passed through some narrow belt of wood, or 
"explored some little grove, was highly novel and 
" picturesque ; the flames, seen through the chequering 
" leaves, played and twinkled, and ever and anon 
" frightened a troop of little birds from their roost, and 
" illuminated their plumage as they fluttered by. 

"At length we reached the melon-patch, and having 
" dismounted and tied our horses to the hanging twigs 
" of the roadside trees, we crossed the rail-fence to beat 


"the ground on foot. It was a large field, entirely 
"covered with melons, the long stems of which trailed 
"over the soft earth, concealing it with the coarse foliage 
"and the great yellow flowers of the plant; while the 
" fruit, of all sizes, lay about in boundless profusion, from 
" the berry just formed, to the fully matured and already 
" rotten-rii)e melon, as large as a butter firkin. Abundant 
" evidences were visible of the depredations of our game, 
" for numbers of fine ripe melons lay about with large 
"cavities scooped out of them, some showing by their 
" freshness and cleanness that they had been only just 
" attacked, while others were partially dried and dis- 
" coloured by the burning sun. Moths of various species 
"were collected around the wounded fruit, some of them 
" (which I should have prized for my cabinet, if I had 
" had time and means to capture and bring them home) 
"inert and bloated with the juices which they had been 
" sucking ; others fluttering by scores around, or attracted 
"by the light to dance round the torches. 

" The party had dispersed. I accompanied the planter 
" to the edge of a wood at one side of the patch, while 
"the young men took up similar stations at some 
"distance. The object was to intercept the vermin in 
" their retreat, as, on being alarmed from their repast, 
" they at once make for their fastnesses in the lofty trees. 
" A negro, with his pine-knot, stood at each station, 
" illuminating the hoary trunks of the great trees. 

" Meanwhile the other servants were scouring the field 
" with the dogs, shouting and making as much noise as 
" possible. Again the twinkling lights looked beautiful, 
"and the sound of the negroes' sonorous voices, raised 
" in prolonged shouts with musical cadences, and now 
" and then a snatch of a rattling song, the favourite 
"burden being how a * big racoon ' was seen — 


" ' a-sittin' on a rail,' 
" fell very pleasantly on the ear. Occasionally the bark- 
" ing of the curs gave token that game was started ; and,, 
"presently, the approach of the sound towards us was 
'* followed by what looked to be a white cat scampering 
"towards the very chestnut-tree before us, closely pur- 
"sued by one of the mongrel curs. My friend's fatal 
** rifle turned the creature over as soon as seen ; but the 
" very next instant another appeared, and scrambling up 
"the fissured trunk, made good its retreat among the 
" branches. 

" In the course of an hour another was shot, one was 
" caught and worried by the dogs, and some half a dozen 
" others were just glimpsed as they scuttled past us, the 
" light for an instant revealing their grey bodies, but too 
^* briefly to allow an aim. We heard, by the reports of 
" our distant friends' rifles, that they had their share of 
" success ; and when we assembled at the edge of the 
'* field, half a dozen opossums and a racoon w^ere thrown 
" across the crupper of one of the beasts. The appear- 
" ance of the latter had been curiously in accordance 
" with the negroes' song ; for one of the young men, 
" creeping quietly along the fence, had seen the furry 
" gentleman ' sittin' on a rail,' and looking with out- 
" stretched neck and absorbed attention into the field, 
" wondering, doubtless, what all the uproar was about. 
" His senses were not so locked, however, as not to be 
" aroused by the gentle footfall of our young friend ; 
" before he could raise his rifle, the racoon had leaped 
" from the fence, and scoured up an immense sycamore. 
" It seemed a hopeless case ; but young Zachariah, 
" vexed at being done by a 'coon, continued to peer up 
" into the tree, hoping that he might get another glance 
" of the animal. Familiar with the habits of the wild 


" denizens of the woods, the youth directed his patient 
'• searching gaze to the bases of the great boughs, well 
" knowing that in the fork of one of these the wily crea- 
'* turc would seek shelter. At last, he saw against the 
" light of the moon, what seemed the head of the racoon 
" projecting from one of the greater forks, and steadily 
"watching it, distinctly saw it move. The fatal ball 
" instantly sped, and down came the creature, heavily 
" plumping on the ground. 

'' I had seen racoons before, yet I looked at the car- 
*' case with interest. You probably are aware that it is 
"an animal about as large as a fox, to which it bears 
" some resemblance. It seems, however, larger, from the 
" fulness of its thick and soft fur, and is more heavy- 
" bodied. Its grey coat, black and white face, and bushy 
"tail, alternately banded with black and light grey, 
" entitle it to admiration ; while the opossum, clothed in 
" rough wiry hair, of a dirty greyish-white hue, with a 
" long rat-like tail, is anything but prepossessing. 

" The torches were extinguished, and we sauntered 
" slowly home. The opossum which had been worried 
" by the curs was not by any means dead when we 
" reached the house, and I had an opportunity of wit- 
" nessing the curious dissimulation which has made the 
" name of this animal proverbial. Though, if left alone 
" for a few moments, the attention of the bystanders 
" apparently diverted from it, it would get on its legs 
" and begin to creep slily away ; yet no sooner was an 
" eye turned towards it, than it would crouch up, lie 
"along motionless, with all its limbs supple, as if just 
" dead ; nor would any kicks, cuffs, or handlings avail 
"to produce the least token of life— not the opening of 
" an eyelid, or the moving of a foot. There it was, dead 
" evidently, you would say, if you had not detected it 


" the moment before in the act of stealing off. The 
" initiated, however, can tell a real dead 'possum from 
" one that is shamming, and the overseer directed my 
" attention to the last joints of the tail. This, during 
" life, is prehensile, used to catch and hold the twigs like 
" a fifth hand ; and even in the hypocritical state in 
*' which I saw it, the coil of the tail-tip was maintained, 
" whereas in absolute death this would be relaxed per- 
" manently. The propriety of correct classification was 
" impressed on me during my examination. I inadver- 
" tently spoke of it as ' a singular creature ; ' but creature, 
" or rather * critter,' is much too honourable a term for 
" such an animal, being appropriated to cattle. The 
" overseer promptly corrected my mistake. * A 'possum, 
" sir, is not a critter, but a varmint.' " 
This letter is written, as will be observed, in capital 
spirits. It is evident that his first months in Alabama 
were very happy ones, and yet there were elements of dis- 
comfort which did not fail to become accentuated. He 
had not been received ungenerously ; on the contrary, a 
rough and tolerant hospitality had desired to make " the 
stranger " feel at home. But Philip Gosse was not emi- 
nently pliable to social peculiarities. He was proud of his 
pure enunciation, and was careful not to adopt an American 
accent — his " British brogue " was in consequence brought 
up as a charge against him ; nor could he throw aside a 
latent jingoism, as we should call it to-day, a patriotism 
that was apt to become truculent because it was in exile. 
In Alabama the jealousy of the " British " was almost 
humorously prominent ; the expression of contempt for 
English opinion was so constant as to suggest an extreme 
sensitiveness to that opinion. But Philip Gosse was almost 
as thin-skinned on this point as the planters themselves, 
and he found the continual dropping of ignorant prejudice 

/ILABAJfA. 141 

very trying. On one occasion, when the papers announced 
some trifling factory row in Paisley or Glasgow, a wealthy 
neighbour hastened to condole with him on the fact that 
" the Scotch were throwing off the l^ritish yoke," for the 
ignorance of European life was such as to make the picture 
in Martin CJiuzzlczvit, twelve years later, seem in no degree 
whatever a caricature. " The universal notion here," says 
my father in July, 1838, "of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, 
is that they are conquered provinces, on a par with Poland, 
kept in a state of galling servitude by the presence of a 
powerful ' British ' army." Nor was it ever supposed that 
the confident prophecy that America would shortly "whip 
the British " could be other than pleasant to the young 
English schoolmaster. Let those who are ready to con- 
demn such crudity reflect how often, even to the present 
day, well-bred Americans in this country have to endure 
with silent politeness sentiments from ourselves which are 
scarcely less crude in their ignorant misconception. 

There was, however, a much more serious reason for 
discomfort. The population was gallant, cordial, easy- 
going, and hospitable ; but underneath the agreeable sur- 
face of life there was an element of lawlessness which 
created in a stranger a painful sense of insecurity. Every 
man was a law to himself, and to curb the passions was not 
understood to be a part of the science of life. What first 
opened my father's eyes to the conditions of Alabaman 
society was a little circumstance which occurred after he 
had been a month or two at Mount Pleasant, in the next 
village. A travelling menagerie had arrived there ; but, in 
some way or other, its proprietor contrived to offend an 
overseer, who, without scruple, called some of his com- 
panions together, and rolled the caravans over the edge of 
a steep ravine into the creek below. They were broken 
before they reached the water, and the iron cages, full of 


beasts, were scattered on every hand. Fortunately they 
were too strong to burst, but the bowlings and roarings of 
the lions and tigers were something horrible to listen to. 
The loss of property was very serious ; the aimless cruelty 
thus passionately inflicted on a quantity of innocent 
animals was more serious still. But the proprietor of the 
menagerie knew that he had no redress, and he sought 
none. Scarcely less daunting than this occurrence, was a 
duel in the neighbourhood, in which the combatants 
almost literally hacked each other to pieces with bowie- 
knives ; and in many cases of vendetta, what the bowie- 
knife spared, the rifle devoured. 

Closely connected with these disquieting elements in 
society was that central fact in Southern life, the institution 
of slavery. Philip Gosse was not a humanitarian. The 
subject of slavery was one which had not troubled his 
thoughts in coming to the South ; he had been aware of its 
existence, of course, and he supposed that he had dis- 
counted it. But he found it more horrible, and the discus- 
sion of it more dangerous, than he had in the least degree 
imagined. He was looked upon, as an Englishman, with 
a peculiar jealousy, as a person predisposed to question 
" our domestic institution," as it was called. He soon had 
unquestionable proofs that his trunks were surreptitiously 
opened and his letters examined, obviously to ascertain 
whether his correspondence touched upon this tenderest 
of themes. He had, however, warned his friends, and he was 
careful himself to be most guarded upon this subject. It 
was not until he was in act of leaving the country that he 
dared to put pen to paper on this theme. " What will be 
the end of American slavery } " he asks, and the query was 
one to which in 1838 there seemed no answer. "There 
are men here," he proceeds, " who dare not entertain this 
question. They tremble when they look at the future. It 


is like a huge deadly serpent, which is kept down by 
incessant vigilance, and by the strain of every nerve and 
muscle ; while the dreadful feeling is ever present that, 
some day or other, it will burst the weight that binds it, 
and take a fearful retribution." 

It was in September, however, when the bustle of cotton- 
picking made an unusual strain upon the native laziness of 
the negro, that Gosse was made physically ill by the ruth- 
less punishments which were openly inflicted on all sides 
of him. The shrieks of women under the cow-hide whip, 
cynically plied in the very courtyard beneath his windows 
at night, would make him almost sick with distress and 
impotent anger, and I have heard him describe how he 
had tried to stuff up his ears to deaden the sound of the 
agonizing cries which marked the conventional progress 
of this very peculiar " domestic institution." With the 
Methodist preachers and other pious people with whom he 
specially fraternized, he would occasionally attempt, very 
timidly, to discuss the ethics of slavery, but always to find 
in these ministers and professors of the gospel exactly the 
same jealousy of criticism and determination to applaud 
existing conditions, that could characterize the most dis- 
solute and savage overseer, as he sat and flicked his boots 
with his cow-hide on the verandah of a rum-shop. My 
father saw no escape from this condition of things. He 
was obliged to admit that slaves seemed indispensable in 
Alabama, and that "free labour is out of the question." 
But it sickened him, and it had much to do with his abrupt 

From the day of his arrival he had kept a copious 
scientific journal, but in September this begins to fall off, 
and early in October it ceases altogether. For the last 
three months of his stay in Alabama there scarcely exists 
any record, except a private diary which is painful reading. 


At no time was Philip Gosse ready to admit that connec- 
tion between the physical and the spiritual well-being of a 
man, the relation between bodily health and mental health, 
which to many of us may seem one of the finest lessons 
which life has to give. It was very strange that one of 
such infinitely delicate and accurate perceptions in observa- 
tion of animals and plants, one to whom the movements 
of a butterfly and the conscience of an orchid were almost 
preternaturally obvious, should be unable to adapt the 
same habit of observation to humanity and to himself. 
But it must be said that he was never a very subtle judge 
of man, and always a very bad critic of himself. There 
were many conditions of his life in Alabama which pre- 
disposed him to melancholy and physical depression, and 
against which he should have been upon his guard. This 
social isolation, the repressed indignations of his patriotism 
and of his humanity, his narrow resources and hopelessness 
of improvement, were enough to cast him down in spirits. 
But in addition, the autumn in those hot, damp countries 
is exceedingly distressing to a stranger ; the neighbourhood 
of the swamp is deadly, and the decay of the monstrous 
body of vegetation almost fatal to organic elasticity. Un- 
happily, however, in a manner I need not dwell upon at 
distressing length, my father, who would have hit with 
luminous directness on the cause of such symptoms in an 
insect or a bird, saw in his own condition nothing less 
serious than the chastisement of God on one who was 
sinning against light. The more wretched he felt, the 
more certain was he of the Divine displeasure, and the 
more did he lash his fainting spirit to the task of religious 
exercises. His diary is full of self-upbraidings, penitential 
cries, vows of greater watchfulness in the future ; and it is 
downright pathetic to read these effusions, and to know 
that it was quinine that the poor soul wanted in its 


innocent darkness. He began to wish to return to England, 
but put the thought behind him, as evidently a temptation 
of the devil, because it would please him to return. For 
the first time in his life, he was in a thoroughly morbid 
condition of mind. 

Towards the middle of November his apathy and 
gloom deepened into positive illness. He began to suffer 
from a very violent and almost unceasing headache. On 
December i he writes — 

** By medicine and care my headache is at length 
"relieved, though not yet removed. It has been ac- 
"companied by great prostration of mind and body, 
"but though I have not been capable of much 
" devotional exercise, I have been enabled to fix my 
"mind with filial confidence on God. ... I have seen 
" the absurdity of deferring the work of repentance and 
"conversion to a sick bed, which is very ill adapted 
" for such work. My school has closed, another gentle- 
" man having been engaged to succeed me ; in this, too, 
" I see the hand of God." 

From this last statement it would almost seem as 
though, in consequence of Philip Gosse's failing health, he 
had been arbitrarily superseded, but of this I find no other 
record. For the next fortnight the entries in his journal 
are tinged with the deepest melancholia. On December 
16 he says — 

"From the representations of Brother Hearne (the 
"presiding Elder of this district) and Brother Nose- 
" worthy, and their persuasions, I have given up the 
"thought of going to England, believing it to be my 
"duty to labour here. I am not convinced by their 
"reasons, but I fear that my will stands opposed to the 
"will of God." 

But a few days later he was persuaded to go off for a 



visit to Brother Noseworthy at the town of Selma. The 
ride did him good, and the change of air also. He was 
bustled up by the activity of Quarterly Meeting. On the 
25th he writes, " The Methodist Society at Selma is in a 
much livelier state than ours, and I have had some profit- 
able seasons, though I find too much of a narrow bigotry 
with all." He came back to Mount Pleasant persuaded 
that he had a call to be a Wesleyan minister in Alabama, 
and convinced that he was to spend his life there preaching 
and visiting. 

What happened next I know not, but I suppose that 
the visit to Selma had quickened his senses, and showed 
him that life in Mount Pleasant was impossible, since 
exactly four days after this conclusion to stay in Alabama 
for ever, he is found to have packed up all his boxes and 
cabinets, to have been up to Dallas to say farewell to 
the Saffolds, and to be positively on board a steamer on 
the Alabama river, in the highest possible spirits, and 
bound merrily for Mobile. He ate part of a splendid 
turkey for his Christmas dinner on board the steamer, his 
curious objection to everything which in any way sug- 
gested the keeping of Christmas as a festival not having as 
yet occurred to him. The voyage down the river from the 
upper country occupied two days and a night, considerable 
delay being caused by frequent stoppages to take in cargo, 
until the vessel was laden almost to the water's edge with 
bales of cotton. " I looked with pleasure on the magnificent 
scenery of the heights. There is something," he writes, 
" very romantic in sailing, or rather shooting, along 
between lofty precipices of rock, crowned with woods at 
the summit. One such strait we passed through to-day 
(December 30) just at sunrise ; the glassy water, our 
vessel, and everything near still involved in deepest 
shadow ; the grey, discoloured limestone towering up on 


each side ; while the trees, and just a streak on the top- 
most edge of one cliff, were bathed in golden light from 
the newly risen sun." 

He was greatly amused by the way in which the crew 
stowed the cargo. The cotton had been already screwed 
into bales so tightly that further compression might seem 
impossible. But when the stowed bales in the hold were 
in contact with the upper deck, another layer had to be 
forced in by powerful jack-screws, worked by four men. 
When the end of the bale was seen set against a crevice 
into which a thin board could scarcely be pushed, it might 
appear impossible that it should ever get in ; but the screw 
was continually turned, and though the process was a slow 
one, the bale would gradually insinuate itself The men 
kept the most perfect time by means of their songs. 
" These ditties," — says the curious " chiel " who hung above 
the cotton-bales "making notes," — "though nearly meaning- 
less, have much music in them ; and as all join in the 
perpetually recurring chorus, a rough harmony is pro- 
duced, by no means unpleasing. I think the leader im- 
provises the words, of which I have taken down the 
following specimen ; he singing one line alone, and the 
whole then giving the chorus, which is repeated without 
change at every line, till the general chorus includes the 
stanza : — 

" ' I think I hear the black-cock say, 

Fire the ringo ! fire away ! 
They shot so hard, I could not stay ; 

Fire the ringo ! fire aivay I 
So I spread my wings, and flew away ; 

Fire the ringo ^ etc. 
I took my flight, and ran away; 

Fire, etc. 
All the way to Canaday, 

Fire^ etc. 


To Canaday, to Canaday, 
All the way to Canaday. 
Gin'ral Jackson gain'd the day ; 
At New Orleans he gain'd the day ; 

Ringo ! ringo ! blaze away ! 

Fire the ringo / fire away 1 ' " 

Later on the last evening of the year 1838, he entered 
Mobile, where he had to stay a week before proceeding to 
England. At Mobile he found his poor shattered insect 
cabinet from Canada, lying in a warehouse in a shocking 
condition, but with the contents not so hopelessly destroyed 
as he had every reason to fear that he should find them. 
It was pleasant to gaze on his captures, after having been 
parted from them for nearly a year. From Alabama he 
carried home about twenty specimens of the skins of rare 
birds, and a few fur-pelts. In cash he found that he was, 
when he had paid his passage to England, even poorer 
than when he left Canada. So poor was he that he was 
obliged, immediately on his arrival in Liverpool, to part 
with his furs and skins hastily, and therefore at a wretched 
price. His entomological collection he sold, for a fair 
sum, to the well-known insect-buyer, Mr. Melly. As a 
matter of fact, however, the rolling stone returned to 
England, after an exile of eleven years, with practically no 
moss whatever on its surface. He was completing his 
twenty-ninth year, and life still seemed wholly inhospitable 
to him. He had not chanced yet on the employment for 
which alone he was fitted, but he had unconsciously gone 
through an excellent apprenticeship for it. It was on his 
return voyage to England in January, 1839, that Philip 
Gosse began to be a professional author. 

( 149 ) 


1 839- 1 844. 

IN his diary of January 4, 1839, Philip Gosse has re- 
corded : " I spent an hour or two in walking through 
the public burial-ground of Mobile. Many of the epitaphs 
were ridiculous, but some very touching. I felt my spirit 
softened and melted by some of the testimonials of affec- 
tion, and I could not refrain from tears. Then I went on 
board the ship Isaac Ncwto7i, lying in the bay, and so bade 
adieu to American land, probably for ever." This melan- 
choly note is not inappropriate to mark what was in fact a 
great crisis in his career, while the prophecy in the last 
words was actually fulfilled, since though his activity in the 
New World was by no means at an end, he was never to 
set foot on the American continent again. 

As a part of the fresh religious zeal which he had roused 
in himself during his latest weeks in Alabama, he began 
on board .the Isaac Newton the practice of speaking on 
the condition of their souls to those into whose company 
he was thrown. This habit he preserved, with varying 
intensity, till the end of his life, and in process of time it 
became easy and natural to him to exhort and to ex- 
amine. But it was difficult enough at first, and nothing 
but an overwhelming conviction that it was his duty would 
have enabled him to overcome his reluctance. He was 


shy, and disliked addressing strangers ; he was sensitive, 
and hated to take a liberty. But he had convinced him- 
self that it was his duty to God to speak of sacred matters 
" in season and out of season," and he persevered in the 
same indomitable spirit which forced Charles Darwin, in 
spite of sea-sickness, to continue his experiments on board 
the Beagle. In later years, I remember once quoting to 
my father, in self-defence under his spiritual cross-ex- 
amination, Clough's — 

" O let me love my love unto myself alone 
And know my knowledge to the world unknown ! 
No witness to the vision call, 
Beholding, unbeheld of all ; 
And worship thee, with thee withdrawn, apart. 
Whoe'er, whate'er thou art, 
Within the closest veil of mine own inmost heart." 

" Mellifluous lines, enough ! " he replied, " but that is not 
what God asks from a converted man. It is not the luxury 
of meditation and the cloister, but the unwelcome effort to 
spread a knowledge of the truth." 

The entries in his journal of the voyage of January, 
1839, are naive and pathetic : — 

"We have had much rough, cold, wet, and uncomfort- 
"able weather, but I have called the crew together, on 
" Sabbath days (but not so often as I ought, having 
"suffered from extreme reluctance to disturb them), to 
" hear the way of salvation. They listen with decorum 
" and attention, and perhaps fruit may spring up after 
" many days ; and if not, I have not failed to be well 
" paid even in a present blessing. ... I made an 
" opportunity of speaking to the captain on the subject 
" of religion. He is an amiable and well-informed man, 
"a profane swearer, and one who seems to entertain 
"considerable contempt for godliness. . . . The captain 


" continues to profess infidel sentiments, but kindly per- 

" mits his people to be assembled, and himself listens 

" respectfully." 

The voyage to England occupied five weeks, and during 
that time Gosse worked hard at the manuscript of his Cana- 
dian Naturalist, contriving to finish it, so far as it could 
be finished, before the ship entered the Mersey. In some 
respects the voyage was pleasant, but the whole vessel was 
stuffed with cargo, cotton-bales being piled even in the 
cabin, leaving scarcely room to creep in and out. He used 
to recline on the top of these soft bales, reading natural 
history, and in particular Walsh's Brazil, which he had 
found on board, and which fascinated him. At last Eng- 
land was again his home, after twelve years' exile. He was 
furnished with ample and fervid introductions from his 
dear friends the Jaqueses in Canada to their relatives in 
Liverpool, and by them he was hospitably entertained for 
a fortnight. These kind people became sufficiently in- 
terested in him to perceive his talents and to deplore his 
poverty. They set themselves, with such slight means as 
lay at their hands, to find suitable occupation for him. A 
letter addressed to Mr. William Clarke, of Liverpool, who 
had obtained for Philip Gosse the refusal of the office of 
curator at some museum, — I know not what or where — 
may here be quoted in full. It is a very characteristic 

To Mr. William Clarke, Liverpool. 

" Wimborne, April 25, 1839. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I know not in what terms to express, in an 
"adequate manner, my sense of your most undeserved 
"kindness; it really oppresses me. As if it were not 
"enough that you loaded me with the kindest atten- 


"tions during my pleasant sojourn in your friendly 
" family, you are still caring for my welfare, and devising 
*' schemes for my benefit, now I am far away. It is 
"pleasing to know that though out of sight, I am not 
" out of mind. Do not think me ungrateful if I cannot 
"avail myself of your very obliging proposal. I am 
"pained that your goodness should be thrown away ; 
"but I am really not qualified for the situation of 
" curator. I do not know the art of stuffing birds and 
" beasts ; and, '^though I have some acquaintance w^ith 
" natural history, I am totally ignorant of mineralogy, 
" which, I observe by the advertisement, is required. 
" Attendance, too, is required from 8 a.m. till 9 p.m. — 
" thirteen hours a day ; and the whole time to be devoted 
" to the duties. 

" There are other reasons why I should hesitate to 
" fill such an office as that. I should fear that I should 
" be thrown into situations in which I might find it diffi- 
" cult to keep that purity of intention which I value 
" more than life ; and likewise, that my opportunities of 
" being useful to my fellow-men, especially to their 
"souls, would be much curtailed. I view this transient 
" state as a dressing-room to a theatre ; a brief, almost 
" momentary visit, during which preparation is to be 
" made for the real business and end of existence. 
" Eternity is our theatre : time our dressing-room. So 
" that I must make every arrangement with a view to 
" its bearing on this one point. 

" Again I repeat my gratitude for your kindness ; and 
"pray God to reward you a thousand-fold, for I am 
"utterly unable. Should it ever be my lot to revisit 
" Liverpool, I shall gratefully renew my acquaintance 
" with you and your dear family. I have heard nothing 
" from Mr. Jaques since I have been here — have you ? 


" My kindest wishes and most respectful regards wait on 
" Mrs. Clarke, and my love to the dear young folks — espe- 
"cially dear Henrietta, and William, and Charley; and 
"indeed Emily, too. There, I have named all; for I 
"can make no exception. May every happiness be 
" yours and theirs ! 

" Believe me to be, dear Sir, 

" Kindly and sincerely yours, 

"P. H. GOSSE." 

The excuse for not accepting seems, even from his own 
point of view, curiously inadequate. The position of curator 
at a provincial museum is not commonly looked upon as 
one of peculiar temptation to worldliness, and the writer 
was, besides, reduced to a poverty so extreme, that one might 
suppose an independent spirit, such as his, would leap at 
any honest way of getting a livelihood. But the fact 
appears to be that he believed himself called to the 
ministry, and that his full intention was to become, if 
possible, a Wesleyan preacher. His efforts in this direc- 
tion also, however, were met with disappointment. The 
rough discourses which had served in Alabama were not to 
the taste of the Methodists of Liverpool. He wTote : " The 
large and fine Wesleyan chapels of Liverpool, the fashion- 
able attire of the audiences, and the studied refinement of 
the discourses, so thoroughly out of keeping with my own 
fresh and ardent feelings, distress me. I mourn over the 
degeneracy of Methodism." And Methodism, in her turn, 
looked very coldly at this vehement colonial critic of her 

Early in March, 1839, he went by railway and coach to 
Wimborne, in Dorset, where his mother was now residing 
with a younger son. Here Philip remained for three 
months, taking at first a prominent place as a local 



preacher in Wimborne itself and in the neighbouring vil- 
lages, and frequently supplying the pulpit of the minister 
at the Congregational chapel of the town. The fervour of 
religious zeal with which he had left Alabama now, how- 
ever, began to abate. Many little things had occurred 
which tended to diminish his ardour. His purpose was 
still to seek acceptance from the Methodist Conference as 
a travelling preacher. But much of the enthusiasm which 
had prompted him to undertake this form of employment 
had evaporated by the summer, and, to his surprise, he 
was conscious of not being disappointed when, on applica- 
tion, he found that he was past the limit of age at which 
candidates for the regular ministry are received. He was 
not destined to be a Wesleyan preacher after all. 

Why he lingered so long at Wimborne it is not easy to 
say. Perhaps it was connected with an episode which must 
be recounted in the exact form in which he has chosen to 
preserve it among his notes : — 

" The widow of a deceased Wesleyan minister, residing 
"in Wimborne, Mrs. Button, had two unmarried 
'* daughters, to the elder of whom, Amelia, an accom- 
" plished, pious, and winning lady, older than I, and 
" much pitted with the small-pox, I at once formed a 
"very tender attachment. It was as tenderly returned ; 
"but the prudent mother made her sanction contingent 
" on my obtaining some permanent source of income, 
" which at present was wholly i7i niibihts. This was not 
" readily obtained. Amelia's years could not well brook 
" delay : another suitor interposed, a Wesleyan minister 
" in full employ ; she accepted him, and I was left to 
" mourn. And mourn I did, sadly and deeply ; for my 
" love for her was very earnest. I could not, however, 
" blame her decision." 
The conduct of Amelia Button was as proper as that of 


Edmund Gibbon under similar circumstances. She sighed 
as a lover, but she obeyed as a daughter. 

It was no time, however, for Philip Gosse to be dallying 
with the tender passion. His fortunes were at their lowest 
ebb, and the summer of 1839 marks the darkest point of 
his whole career. It was a happy thought that made him 
turn, at last, to what should long ago have engrossed his 
attention, the field of literature. In the fervid and unwhole- 
some condition of his mind, he had set on one side the 
manuscript of his Canadian Naturalist. It was only by a 
fortunate accident that, in his full tide of Puritanism, he had 
not destroyed it. It was now his one and only chance for 
the future, and London was the sole field into which he 
could, with hope of a harvest, drop the solitary seed. A 
constitutional timidity and that fear of London which is 
sometimes so strong in a sensitive countryman, held him 
shivering on the brink. At last, on June 7, 1839, he set 
out on a coach for the metropolis. While he had been 
in Dorsetshire he had earned just enough to prevent his 
being a positive burden upon his people, partly by preach- 
ing for absent ministers, partly by teaching the elements of 
flower-painting. He thought to continue the second branch 
as a lucrative profession in London, his own drawings 
being, as his Canadian and Alabaman specimens showed, 
of an exquisite merit. But his ignorance of London and of 
life were quite extraordinary. His first lodging in the 
town was quaintly chosen, since, in consequence of some 
literary reminiscence or another, he selected Drury Lane 
as the scene of his operations, and took a cheap but 
infinitely sordid lodging on the east side of that noisy 
and malodorous street. His room was an attic, a few 
doors north of Great Queen Street, and the present writer 
vividly remembers how, in his own boyhood, his father, 
walking briskly towards the British Museum with Charles 


KIngsley, stopped to point out to his friend and to the 
boy the grimy window from which, in the dreariest hour 
of his life, he had looked down upon the roaring midnight 
debauchery of the Drury Lane of fifty years ago. 

Philip Gosse's resources were now reduced to a few 
shillings. Driven by dirt and noise out of the Drury Lane 
attic, he took refuge in another, a little quieter and cleaner, 
in Farringdon Street, at the summit of the house then 
devoted, in its lower part, to the sale of Morrison's pills. 
The young man's only friend in London was the cousin 
mentioned in an earlier chapter, Mr. Thomas Bell, a dentist 
already eminent in the profession, a naturalist, the publi- 
cation of whose British Quadrupeds in 1837 ^^^ given him 
considerable reputation, and a prominent member of the 
Royal Society. On June 15, 1839, Philip Gosse writes to 
his sister, Elizabeth Green : — 

" Mr. Bell has very kindly offered to read my manuscript 
"and give his opinion ; he is going to show it to his own 
" publisher, but thinks that it will need some alteration 
" before being published. I want to get some permanent 
"means of subsistence, and one object of my writing 
" now is to ask what you think my prospects would be of 
"teaching drawing (the finer branches, such as flower- 
" painting, etc. — you know my manner) among the 
"aristocracy and gentry of Sherborne, and whether you 
"think there would be sufficient chance of success to 
" make it worth my while to come down and canvass the 
" neighbourhood } . . . If you write home, give my 
" love. I do not like to write there until I know what 
" my chance is here. Things look dark at present and 
" hopeless enough, but they may brighten. Do not fail 
" to write immediately; but rather put it off a day, than 
" go about it in such haste as not to make half a letter. 
" Adieu ! " 


The manuscript here mentioned was TJie Canadian 
Naturalist, which pleased Mr. Bell so much that he 
recommended it strongly to Mr. Van Voorst, the dis- 
tinguished publisher of scientific works. Philip Gosse's 
pride made him conceal his real state from Thomas Bell, 
and though the latter knew his cousin to be in need of 
employment, he did not suspect that he was in such bitter 
straits. Mr. Van Voorst appointed a day for the young 
author to call on him. Meanwhile the shillings, nursed 
as they might be, were slipping, slipping away. The 
practice of going once a day to a small eating-house had 
to be abandoned, and instead of it a herring was eaten as 
slowly as possible in the dingy attic in Farringdon Street. 
Meanwhile, the response about the " aristocracy and gentry 
of Sherborne " had been discouraging in the extreme. 
" Nothing to be done in Sherborne," was the answer ; 
" better stay where you are." At last the day broke on 
which Mr. Van Voorst^s answer was to be given, and with as 
much of the gentleman about him as he could recover, the 
proud and starving author presented himself in Paternoster 
Row. He was ushered in to the cordial and courteous 
Mr. Van Voorst. He was no longer feeling any hope, but 
merely the extremity of dejection and disgust. The wish 
to be out again in the street, with his miserable roll of 
manuscript in his hands, was the emotion uppermost in 
his mind. The publisher began slowly : " I like your 
book ; I sh^ll be pleased to publish it ; I will give you one 
hundred guineas for it." One hundred guineas ! It was 
Peru and half the Indies! The reaction was so violent 
that the demure and ministerial-looking youth, closely 
buttoned up in his worn broadcloth, broke down utterly 
into hysterical sob upon sob, while Mr. Van Voorst, 
murmuring, '' My dear young man ! my dear young 
man ! " hastened out to fetch wine and minister to wants 


which it was beyond the power of pride to conceal any 

Mr. Van Voorst, in venerable age, is still living as I write 
these words. I trust that I may be permitted the pleasure 
of assuring him of the gratitude which the family of his 
old friend feel and must ever continue to feel towards him. 
Since Otway dedicated his Soldier's Fortiuie to Richard 
Bentley in 1681, many things have been said by authors 
about publishers, and sometimes not in so amicable a spirit 
as that of Otway. The relations of the two professions 
have even, at times, so it is whispered, become positively 
strained. But between John Van Voorst and Philip Henry 
Gosse there was sealed, under the circumstances I have just 
described, a bond of business friendship which held them 
together for nearly fifty years, without a single misunder- 
standing or even momentary disagreement. 

From this time forward, Philip Gosse had an aim in life. 
The form of literary work which he had adopted, or, rather, 
which had at last forced him to recognize its claims, was 
not a very lucrative one, and he was still, as will be seen, 
curiously unready in taking to literary work. Nevertheless, 
he had now made a successful start, and there was Mr. Van 
Voorst in Paternoster Row always ready to listen to a 
reasonable suggestion. Mr. George Loddiges, the once 
famous florist, was also a useful acquaintance gained through 
Thomas Bell. He was charmed with Philip Gosse's draw- 
ings of American flowers, made him free of his own admired 
series of orchid-houses and nurseries, and recommended 
him to seek employment in ladies' schools, as a teacher of 
flower-painting. In the winter of 1839 I find that Gosse has 
removed into the suburbs, to a lodging at Hackney. He 
writes, with his customary cheerfulness — for these letters 
never show the slightest petulance or ill-humour under 
failure — " Day by day, I trudge wearily through the streets, 


with my portfolio under my arm, seeking to show my 
drawings of flowers and insects. I get many praises, but 
little employment. I have, however, obtained several 
engagements, in private schools and families. I make 
frequent visits to the British Museum, and am especially 
studying the large mammals. I have made careful draw- 
ings of the giraffe on the old staircase, and the hippopota- 
mus and rhinoceros at its foot. The other day I met a 
Chinaman offering a glazed box of Chinese insects, stuffed 
as full as it could hold. I could not resist the extravagance 
of buying it, as he wanted but a small sum for it. I have 
thrown away all but a few of the choice lepidoptera, and 
have made it quite air-tight." This treasure accompanied 
him in all subsequent wanderings to the very end. 

On February 29, 1840, The Canadian Naturalist was 
published, the first of the long series of my father's works. 
It was very favourably received, and sold firmly, though 
rather slowly. The form in which it was written was 
somewhat unfortunate, for it consisted of a series of con- 
versations between an imaginary father and son, *' during 
successive walks, taken at the various seasons of the year, 
so that it may be considered as in some degree a kind of 
Canadian Naturalist's Calendar!' The presentment of 
facts was by no means helped by the snip-snap of the 
dialogue, and the supposed father was found most enter- 
taining when he talked with least interruption from the 
young inquirer. The book was adorned by a large number 
of illustrations, engraved in a very refined and finished 
manner on blocks drawn in most cases by the author 
himself, and in all designed by him. In The Canadian 
Naturalist, imperfect as it was as a final expression of 
his peculiar genius, Philip Gosse opened out a new field of 
literature. In the eighteenth century, amid the careless 
pedantry of such zoologists as Pennant, had been heard 


the clear note of Gilbert White. Twenty years later, 
Alexander Wilson had begun to issue the eight volumes of 
his magnificent American Ornithology. In 1825 Charles 
Waterton had published his sensational Wanderings. 
These three works are the only ones which can fairly be 
said to have preceded The Canadian Naturalist in its own 
peculiar province, and of these Waterton's, at least, had 
little but a superficial resemblance to the new departure in 
natural history. It was from Wilson that Philip Gosse 
had learned most of the zoological art of his book, but it 
was his chief advantage to have been held long away from 
masters and teachers of all kinds, and to have been forced 
to study nature for himself. In his preface he said, 
modestly enough, that " the author is fully aware how very 
limited is his acquaintance with this boundless science [of 
zoology] ; having lived in the far-off wilds of the West, 
where systems, books, and museums are almost unknown, 
he has been compelled to draw water from Nature's own 
well, and his knowledge of her is almost confined to her 
appearance in the forest and the field." 

He very soon made himself fully familiar with all that 
systematic zoologists had arranged and decided. He 
became a learned as well as a practised naturalist. But 
the unacademic freshness of his early habit of mind 
remained, and gave its pleasant tincture to all his subse- 
quent work. His function continued to be, as it had 
begun by being, that of one who calls his contemporaries 
out of their cabinets and their dissecting-rooms into the 
woods and seashore, and bids them observe the living 
heart of Nature. Since his time, such appeals have grown 
more and more frequent, until they have begun to seem 
commonplace. All can raise this particular flower now, but 
it was Philip Gosse, in a very marked degree, who first found, 
or at least first popularized, the seed. The moment was 


one in which, throughout the world, a fresher air was being 
blown across the fields of biology and natural history. 
Captain Fitzroy had just published that account of the 
cruise of the Beagle in which the greatest of all biologists, 
Charles Darwin (my father's senior by one year), made 
his first public appearance ; while in New England one 
whom, from a purely literary point of view, it is more 
natural to compare with Philip Gosse, Henry Thpreau, 
had just made that week's voyage on the Concord and 
Merrimac rivers which he was to describe some ten years 
later. The germs of all that made Gosse for a generation 
one of the most popular and useful writers of his time are 
to be found in The Canadian Naturalist,— th^ picturesque 
enthusiasm, the scrupulous attention to truth in detail, the 
quick eye and the responsive brain, the happy gift in direct 
description. The pages devoted to the red squirrel, " that 
fantastic little gentleman, with as many tricks as a mon- 
key ; " the disquisition on the hard-woods of Lower 
Canada ; the episode of the skunk,— these may be taken 
as typical examples of the felicitous character of the best 
passages, mingled, it is only fair to say, with much that, 
from want of literary experience, was put together without 
skill. One passage may be quoted here— a brief descrip- 
tion of the phenom.ena of a Canadian winter tempest : — 
" Hark to the wind ! how it howls and whistles through 
" the tops of the trees, like a close-reef gale through 
" the shrouds and ropes of a ship at sea. Now it sinks 
"to a hollow moan, then sings again, uttering sounds 
" which one might fancy those of an yEolian harp. The 
" leaves fly from those few trees which still retain any, 
*' and the long grey moss streams from the tops of the 
"scathed hemlocks, stretching far out upon the blast, 
"like signals of distress. Do you hear that crashing 
" roar } Some might}^ tree has bowed to its destin}-. 


" VVe are in danger until we can get out of the proximity 
" of the forest. Yonder is one prostrate across the road, 
" which has fallen since we passed an hour ago : see how 
"it has crushed the fence, and torn up the ground of 
" the field on the opposite side ! There thunders 
"another! They are falling now on every side; and 
" the air is thronged with pieces of bark, shreds of 
"tree-moss, and broken branches, descending. It is 
"appalling to hear the shrieking of the gusts, and the 
" groaning of the trees as they rock and chafe against 
" each other, while they toss their naked arms about, as 
" if in agony." 

The record of the next two years is a very slight one. 
It was a period of obscurity and poverty, borne with an 
almost stoic patience. Philip Gosse was still, what indeed 
he never wholly ceased to be, timid, reserved, little disposed 
to form new acquaintances or to cultivate old ones. The 
success of his Canadian Naturalist made a ripple in 
scientific society, and a more ambitious man would have 
felt that his foot was on the ladder and have made his 
own ascent secure. But that was not Philip Gosse's way. 
He was not easily to be persuaded of his powers, and, 
without making the smallest effort to secure work of a 
serial or journalistic kind, such work as would have been 
easily within reach of his elegant and active pen, he fell 
back on his flower-drawing and his elementary teaching. 
He was not, at this time, in good health. The miasma 
of Alabama was probably still hanging about his system. 
His rare letters of this epoch, though always resolute and 
patient, have a melancholy tone. He says to his sister 
Elizabeth, early in 1840, after a brief visit to Dorsetshire : 
" Now I am in London again, lonely and depressed, and 
almost without a friend — at least, without dear friends. 
What a sad word is 'farewell'! But, by-and-by, there 


will be a state where the sound of farewell, n.)\v familiar as 
a household word, shall be altoc,^ether unheard of and 
altogether unknown. May we meet there ! " 

In his dreary lodgings, his thoughts went back to the 
haunts of his boyhood in Newfoundland, "the beautiful 
little silver lakes that sleep among the spruce-covered 
mountains, — I mean a mile or two in from shore. I should 
like exceedingly," he writes (April 25, 1840) to his brother 
William at St. John's, "that you should transfer some views 
to paper for me, if they were but sketches ; the very lovely 
one from Pack's farm in Carbonear, and the same from 
Elson's flagstaff down Little Beaver Pond, Black Duck 
Pond, etc., with the hills of Freshwater in the distance, 
and the sea peeping out between the peaks. Another 
from that high round hill on the left hand of the Harbour 
Grace Road, looking in towards Lady Pond, and over 
many other ponds. From Mosquito Point there is a noble 
coast view — Carbonear Island in the foreground, green 
and woody ; behind, the gradually receding headlands of 
the north shore, becoming more dimly blue until Boccalao 
is almost invisible. Give my love to all my Bay friends, if 
you have the opportunity, and don't forget my request to 
gather flowers, sprigs of bushes, etc. ; it is very little 
trouble, when you are walking, to gather what you see, 
and when you come home, just shut them into a book. I 
flatter myself you will do it." 

In the summer he was himself applied to to take some 
views of the neighbourhood of Sherborne, to be lithographed 
for a history of that town, but was not a little incensed, on 
the publication of the book, to find the name of a better- 
known artist appended to them, instead of his own. He 
complained to the publisher, but obtained neither reply nor 
redress. He was still staying close to Sherborne, when 
his only sister, Elizabeth Green, after a brief illness, died 


on July 26, 1840. The loss of Mrs. Green left him 
more lonely than ever, for she was one of the few persons 
to whom he was attached. In the course of this summer 
he was once more reduced to such straits that he had 
almost determined to "again cross the Atlantic, either 
back to the Southern States, or to the West Indies ; for," 
he says, " I cannot live thus. I get no new pupils, and am 
losing money. In the States I can be sure of ;^200 or 
;^250 a year, but it is such an exile. I should seek a 
school as before, and at my leisure get up the material of 
another book." This idea of a school, either in England 
or America, had long been haunting him, and early in 
1840, as his own acquaintance with Greek was but 
elementary, he set himself to a close and earnest study, 
with grammar, lexicon, and Delectus, reading thirty pages 
a day, until he became, what he remained, a fair Greek 
scholar. In June he ran down to Colchester, to inquire 
about a school advertised for sale, but with no result. In 
September he arranged with a retiring schoolmaster in 
London Lane, Hackney, to take over his fixtures and 
three pupils. His printed announcement to the gentry of 
the neighbourhood now lies before me, a faded scrap of 
elegant satin paper. It is worded so quaintly, and carries 
about it such an old-world air, that I cannot refrain from 
reprinting it : — 


"Mr. p. H. Gosse respectfully announces to the 
" inhabitants of Hackney and its vicinity, that he intends 
" to open a Classical and Commercial School for Young 
" Gentlemen, at the large and commodious School-room 
" in London Lane, in the rear of the Temperance 
" Hotel ; where, by assiduous attention to the morals, 
*' comfort, and intellectual progress of the Pupils intrusted 


" to his care, he hopes to merit a share of pubh'c 
" patronage. The School will commence on Wednesday, 
"the 30th September, 1840. 

'^ N.B. — Mr. G!s residence is at No. i. Retreat Cottages, 
" Hackney^ 

The school was not quite a complete failure ; indeed, it 
enjoyed a mitigated degree of success. Philip Gosse's 
ideas of education were as free as his science from 
traditional rule. But in his way of teaching there seems 
to have been something of the freshness of his natural 
observation. From a letter written at this time I extract 
a passage which is not unworthy of preservation as the 
contribution of an unbiassed mind to the problem of 
education : — 

"I am a friend to boys' getting their lessons (the 
" mere words of them) well fixed in the memory ; I 
" once thought it enough if the sense were secured, but 
" on considering how little boys in general reflect on the 
"meaning of what they learn, and how often the 
" verbatim words stick indelibly to the memory in after 
" years, I attach a great value to the mere learning of 
" words — that is, learning them thoroughly (not hammer- 
" ing and stammering, and fingering the buttonhole, with 
" ' Stop a minute, sir ! ' 'I could say it, just now, sir ! ' 
" and so forth) — to say nothing of the vast increase of 
" the powers of memory, as of every other intellectual 
" faculty, by its habitual exercise. Consider, too, how 
"very much of school learning is a matter of mere 
" abstract memory — conjugations, declensions, lists of 
" heteroclites and exceptions, conjunctions, prepositions, 
*' adverbs, in grammar ; names of places, distances, and 
'' bearings, in geography ; dates in history ; tables in 
"arithmetic; in all which, and many others, no assist- 


" ance whatever is derived from the understanding ; 
" they are matters of mere memory, and if got at all, 
"must be got by heart, and that thoroughly. With 
" respect to spelling, you argue against yourself. You 
" ' have known lads of tolerable capacity spell wretchedly ;' 
" so have I, and men and women too, hundreds of them ; 
" and what does that prove, but the total inefficiency of 
" the mode by which they were pretended to be taught — 
" the common mode of columns ? Did you ever know 
''one who had been tt'ained (not for half a year, but 
" through his education) by writing from dictation, to 
" spell wretchedly ? I have found in spelling that the 
"great and most common difficulty consists in not 
" knowing how to elect in words of every moment's use, 
" which superficially sound alike but differ in import : ' as 
" * — has ; ' ' which — witch ; ' ' were — where ; ' ' weal — 
"Svheel ;' 'air — are — hair — hare — hear — here — ear — e'er 
"' — ere,' etc., etc. Now dictation, by showing the rela- 
"tion and connection of words, shows when one form 
"should be adopted, and when another. I allow this 
" knowledge is very commonly gained without dictation, 
" but how is it gained t Not by learning from a spelling 
" book, in no single instajtce, but by what is equivalent 
" to dictation, by observation in private reading, till the 
" individual acquires a practised, an educated eye. That 
" there may be an advantage in learning the definitions 
" of words, I am not prepared to deny, but that is an 
" exercise quite distinct from spelling." 
He had the habit of teaching the elements of geography 
by making his boys draw the pattern of a piece of the 
carpet, then a ground-plan of the school-room, with all its 
furniture, then the garden, with the relative portions of 
house and road, until the notion of the principle on which 
a map is made was insensibly gained, and then, and not 


till then, he would proceed to the geography of large areas. 
Whether this idea, which proved exceedingly efficacious in 
the case of his own pupils, has been often carried out in 
schemes of education, I am not aware. So far as my 
father knew, it was original to him. In the summer of 
1 84 1, as he was growing very weary of solitary lodgings, he 
took a small house, called Woodbine Cottage, close to the 
school, and brought his mother up from Dorsetshire to 
keep it for him. It stood surrounded by a pretty little 
garden, full of perennials in geometric beds, with thick 
box edges. From this house he would frequently, in the 
warmer months, start with all his boys on entomologizing 
excursions, commonly to the borders of Epping Forest, 
and he began a collection of English butterflies which 
soon comprised most of the local species. All this while 
he was busy enough, since he still had a few pupils in 
flower-painting, and exercised his leisure to the full in 
scientific and literary study. These years make little show 
in the record of his life, but they were full of intellectual 
energy. He was making up for time lost in Canada and 
Alabama ; he was fitting himself to compete on equal 
terms with men who had been better equipped than he in 

More than anything else, however, he was training and 
cultivating by ceaseless miscellaneous notes his powers of 
observing and recording natural facts. To print the 
multitudinous records of small scientific observations which 
he accumulated for his own use would be tedious and 
useless to the general reader. Yet some example ought, 
perhaps, to be given here as a specimen of his process of 
self-education. I select at random, and transcribe from the 
almost microscopic writing in faded ink, one little series of 
consecutive notes, one brick out of the immense edifice 
of his records : — 


'' February \%. — Having caught some water insects, and 
"put them into water with a little duckweed, I found a 
" few Cyclopidae among them. One was a largish plump 
"fellow, which under the lens presented a very pretty 
" appearance, being of a pellucid white, brightly shining 
"in the light, like a polished ^gg. On the 1 6th I put 
" this, with two little ones, into a clear phial, with water 
"and a little duckweed; neither had eggs. The next 
" day I could see no more of one of the little ones ; but 
" to-day the remaining little one has a capsule of eggs 
" on each side the tail, projecting. 

'''February 19. — This morning, while I was looking at 
"the Cyclopidae, the large one suddenly darted at the 
" little one, and they had a tussle ; immediately I per- 
"ceived that nearly the whole of one capsule of eggs was 
" gone from the little one, about five eggs only remaining 
" on the right side, attached to a portion of the ovary. 
" I dare say the former one was devoured. In the after- 
"noon, on looking again, I see the large one has got 
"two projecting ovaries attached. 

" February 20. — To-day the small Cyclops was desti- 
" tute of eggs, and with a lens I found many little 
" creatures, exceedingly minute, darting hither and 
" thither, nothing in form like the parent, but much like 
" mites, with four projecting feet and two antennae. 

" February 22. — The larger C^^clops still carries her 
" eggs, but the smaller has acquired another double 
" series. I fancy them to be of a paler grey, when first 
" extruded. 

" February 24. — This afternoon I see the large Cyclops 

" is divested of her ovaries, and the water now swarms 

"with the little quadrupedal young." 

It is noticeable, in dealing with these scientific diaries, 

that although they were not intended for publication, 


literary form is never neglected in them. The extreme 
clearness of observation found its natural expression in 
perfect lucidity of language. The consequence was that 
if, in future years, the naturalist had need to transfer to a 
manuscript his old notes on any particular species, he 
could do it almost without revision, and thus save a great 
deal of labour. 

All this time he had continued to act as a class-leader 
and local preacher among the Wesleyan Methodists. 
There still exists a manuscript book of skeleton sermons 
preached by him in the chapels around London, from 
1839 to 1842. He has attached to it a note, written forty 
years later : — " This volume possesses some interest, as 
showing how very poor and crude my theology was at that 
time." He was, in fact, approaching a great crisis in his 
religious life, to be marked, in the first place, by his formally 
severing his connection, early in 1843, with the Wesleyan 
Society. The present writer is entirely without competence 
to deal with this particular phase of religious conviction, 
which, however, he does not feel at liberty to ignore. To 
misrepresent it would be even worse than to neglect it, 
and a succinct account of it will be found printed, in 
Philip Gosse's own words, in an appendix.* We may return 
to the more external features of his career. The school, 
which had for a while promised well, began to fall off ; 
several of the elder and more interesting pupils ceased to 
attend, and were not replaced by others ; so that, by the 
end of 1843, the number of scholars was reduced to eight. 
A far more lucrative and interesting source of income 
was, however, opening up to Philip Gosse at last. In the 
spring of 1843 the Society for Promoting Christian Know- 
ledge wanted an Introduction to Zoology. Professor 

* Appendix II. 


Thomas Bell, who was on the committee, was deputed to 
ask Mr. Van Voorst who would be a suitable person to 
write such a book. " Why not your cousin, Mr. Gosse ? " 
was the reply, and Bell at once assented. With his 
ordinary diffidence, however, Philip Gosse was far from 
ready to believe that he was competent to fulfil the task, 
and it was with difficulty that he could be persuaded to 
undertake it. 

At this point Philip Gosse's career as a man of letters 
may properly be said to open. He had reached his thirty- 
fourth year not only without distinction, but without 
gaining any confidence in his own powers. His practical 
training had been excellent, but he needed to be pushed 
into active literary work. At last the impetus had been 
given, and henceforward to write for the public became 
the natural and obvious thing for Jiim to do. He had no 
sooner accepted the commission which the Society offered 
him, than the plan of his work assumed form in his mind. 
He entered upon it with a timidity which soon gave way 
to enthusiasm, and he pursued it expeditiously with ever- 
increasing zeal and interest. In this and future relations 
with the Society my father invariably met with great 
consideration and courtesy. He had scrupulously felt 
obliged to let the committee know that he was a noncon- 
formist, but they desired that that matter might never 
again be alluded to. For the two volumes of the Intro- 
duction to Zoology, the Society paid him £^7'^- It 
was composed in less than a year, without interfering in 
any way with the author's other pursuits. It was therefore 
the cause of valuable augmentation to his small means of 

The preparation of these volumes took Gosse a great 
deal to the Natural History Department of the British 
Museum, and he began to form acquaintanceships which 


ripened into valuable friendships. Edward Newman had 
been one of the first to welcome with enthusiastic appre- 
ciation the peculiar qualities of the new writer, and he had 
not only reviewed The Canadian Naturalist, but had sought 
out its author as a contributor to his own periodical, The 
Entomologist. He was introduced by Newman in 1843 to 
Edward Doubleday, a naturalist of great promise, a little 
younger than Philip Gosse, and these two formed a friend- 
ship eminently profitable to each of them, which only 
terminated w^ith the premature death of the entomologist 
in 1849. Edward Doubleday, like his new friend, had 
travelled in America as a collecting naturalist, having 
returned laden with treasures in 1837. In 1839 he had 
obtained the position of assistant at the British Museum, 
and was put in charge of the lepidoptera. When Philip 
Gosse first became intimate with him, he had just arranged 
the national collections of moths and butterflies in an 
admirable manner. In company with Edward, Gosse made 
frequent pilgrimages to the home of the Doubledays at 
Epping, where the widowed mother and the more eminent 
and the elder of the two brothers, Henry Doubleday — 
probably the greatest entomologist whom England has 
produced— involved a demure and noiseless Quaker home 
in an atmosphere of camphor. But Gosse never came to 
know Henry Doubleday, whom he found reserved and 
dispiriting, so well as the mercurial Edward, with whom he 
formed one of the warmest and most easy friendships of 
his life. It was through the Doubledays, if I mistake not. 
that Philip Gosse was encouraged to become a contributor 
to the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The first of his 
lengthy series of papers read before that body was a Note 
on an Electric Centipede, published in this year, 1843. 

Other associates of this period were Baird, Whymper, 
Westwood, Adam White, and the Grays. Dr. William 


Baird, a biologist of some distinction in his time, had been 
an assistant in the British Museum since 1841 ; Whymper, 
the principal water-colour painter and engraver of scientific 
illustrations in that generation, was an hahitu^ of the 
scientific departments of the Museum, in which John 
Edward Gray and George Richard Gray already held posi- 
tions of considerable influence. Of the brilliant, affec- 
tionate, and eccentric Adam White, little now remains in 
memory, but if he was the least distinguished, he was far 
from being the least beloved. Of the whole group of 
young naturalists, then all full of ardour, and already either 
famous or on the road to fame, the only one who survives 
is the venerable John Obadiah Westwood, now in his 
eighty-sixth year, but still Hope Professor of Zoology at 
Oxford, who in 1843 was already eminent for his Ento- 
mologist's Text-Book of 1838 and his British Butterflies of 

Association with those and other scientific friends 
effected a rather sudden expansion in Gosse's social nature. 
The reserved and saturnine young man, absorbed in his 
own thoughts, developed into the enthusiastic companion 
in and sympathizer with the studies of others. The 
journey from Hackney to the British Museum began to 
prove a tedious waste of time, and towards the close of 
1843 he moved further into London, renting a small house 
in Kentish Town, No. 73, Gloucester Place, the last, at that 
time, on the northern side of the street, recently built, 
having behind it a long " garden " of heavy clay soil, mere 
broken meadow not yet subdued. Hither he and his 
mother removed, and soon he invited his aged father — who 
was now quite an invalid, and in his seventy-eighth year — 
to come up from the West of England and join them. 
Behind the garden of this house, there stretched away 
waste fields to the north, and here, one night in the early 


summer of 1S44, Philip Gossc, for the first and last time in 
his life, was " run in " by the police. He had fastened a 
bull's-eye lantern to a tree, and was anxiously watching for 
the advent of insects, when the would-be capturer was 
himself suddenly captured, on suspicion, by a couple of 
active constables. He had no great difficulty in explaining 
that his conduct, if eccentric, proffered no real danger to 

A little before Christmas, 1843, Whymper suggested to 
him that he should write a book about the ocean. There 
was a sudden access of public interest in the new and 
mysterious theories of deep-sea fauna. Sir James Ross 
had just returned from his epoch-making voyage in the 
Pacific Ocean, and had brought up living shell-fish from 
what then seemed the astounding depth of a thousand 
fathoms. It appeared that a general treatise on the 
popular zoology of the deep sea might be acceptable, and 
Philip Gosse proposed to write one for the Society for 
Promoting Christian Knowledge. The committee were 
delighted with the idea, and asked him to prepare a sample 
of his method. He did so, and wrote a little essay of 
which only half a dozen copies were printed for the use of 
the committee. The work, as it finally appeared, did not 
contain this fragment, which has never been published. I 
print it here as a characteristic specimen of the style of 
the author at this period : — 

" Waiving our privilege of breathing the thin and 
" elastic air, let us descend in imagination to the depths 
" of ocean, and explore the gorgeous treasures that 
*• adorn the world of the mermaids. We will choose for 
" our descent one of those lovely little groups which 
" speckle the Pacific, the wondrous labour of an insig- 
** nificant polyp. The sun is no longer visible through 
" the depth of the incumbent sea ; but a subdued 


" greenish light, soft a'nd uniform, sufficiently reveals the 
'' wonders of the scene. We find ourselves at the foot of 
" a vast perpendicular cliff, the base of a coral island, 
" entirely composed, to all appearance, of glistening 
" madrepore, of snowy whiteness, but, in reality, perhaps 
" only encased by it Every part of its surface is seen, 
" on close examination, to be studded with minute 
" orifices, from each of which projects a little fleshy 
'' polyp, which spreads its six green arms, like the rays of 
" a star, waiting for prey. On touching one, though ever 
" so slightly, it contracts its arms and withdraws. Many 
" other corals rise around us, most of them assuming the 
** form of stony trees or shrubs, of singular variety and 
" beauty, some crimson, some grey, some white, some 
" black, while the rocks at our feet are almost covered 
"with brainstones of vast size, mushroom-corals, and 
" other madrepores, of the most grotesque forms. 
" Enormous sea - fans wave their netted expansions 
" slowly to and fro in the long heavy swell of the sea, 
" embraced here and there by the slender branches of 
" the jointed corallines. The beauty of form and colour 
" displayed by these productions is contrasted with the 
" sober hue of the sponges, which, in endless diversity, 
" overspread the bottom of the sea. Their forms are no 
*' less fantastic than those of the corals, and resemble 
" vases, or tables, or horns, or tubes, or globes, or many- 
" fingered hands ; while from the larger orifices on their 
" surface, as from so many mouths, they pour forth 
" incessant streams of water with untiring activity. The 
" vegetable productions, however, display little of the 
" variety which marks their sisters of the upper world ; 
" but the dull yellow bladder-weed and other fuci creep 
" among the rocks, and the brown sea-thong and fea- 
" thery conferva wave amidst the coral branches. 


" All this forms the scenery, as it were, of our novel 
"position. But these dim recesses are not solitudes; 
" the water teems with life to an extent utterly unknown 
"to the sunny earth above. Minute crustaceous animals 
"swarm in every part, and gelatinous animalcules so 
" abound as almost to touch each other. Beautiful 
"shells, whose loveliness, however, is partly concealed 
" by their leathery skin, glide slowly over the rocks ; 
"the paper nautilus darts by in its graceful but fragile 
"habitation; and the giant clam opens its immense 
"valves to feed in security in the shelter of yonder 
"cavern. The loggerhead turtle, however, explores the 
" caverns for his prey, within whose formidable jaws 
"even the stony shells of the great conchs are crushed 
" like a walnut ; nor is the depth of ocean inaccessible to 
" him who urges his arrowy course through the waters 
" with the swiftness of a bird upon the wing. We are 
"tempted at first sight to believe that these slimy rocks 
" eive birth to the most brilliant flowers ; so close is the 
"resemblance borne by the expanded actiniae to these 
" lovely productions of the garden. We can almost 
" identify the aster, the anemone, the sunflower, the 
" daisy, the cactus, the carnation, and other favourites of 
'' th.Q parterre, in these fleshy animal-flowers that 

'' 'The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear.' 

" The, water is now become our atmosphere ; in which 
" the place of the feathered tribes is supplied by the no 
" less varied tribes of fishes, which cleave the waters 
" with a fleetness emulating that of the most favoured 
" inhabitants of the upper air. The gemmed and glitter- 
" ing mail in which many of these tenants of the deep 
" are arrayed, rivals the hues of the parrots or the 
"humming-birds. The labrus, which has just shot past 


" US, IS a notable example ; possessing in its silvery 
" body, yellow head, and crimson tail, an undoubted 
" claim to beauty of decoration ; nor are the gleaming 
" hues that flash from the pearly sides of that troop of 
"coryphenes, as they play in the changing light, less 
" charming. Now they have caught sight of yonder 
"shoal of timid little flying-fishes which are making 
•' their way to surface, to seek a momentary refuge in 
"another element, — and away they dart, pursuing and 
" pursued. And here comes, stealing by, the fellest 
"tyrant of the deep, the grim shark, attended by his 
^^ fidus Achates, the little pilot-fish, in a livery of brown 
"and purple. The very countenance of this grisly 
"monster, the expression of settled malice in his eye, 
" inspires an involuntary horror, scarcely increased by 
" a glimpse of the serried lancet-like teeth which arm 
" those fatal jaws. 

" It is night. Yet darkness has not fallen upon the 
" scene, for the whole mass of the sea is become imbued 
" with light. A milky whiteness pervades every part, 
" slightly varying in intensity, arising from inconceivably 
" numerous animalcules, so small as to be separately 
" undistinguishable, but in their aggregation illuminating 
" the boundless deep. Among them are numerous 
"swimming creatures, of perceptible size and greater 
" luminousness, which glitter like little brilliant sparks ; 
" and when a fish swims along, its path becomes a bed 
" of living light, and we may trace it many fathoms by 
" its luminous wake. Some of the larger creatures also 
" are vividly illuminated ; the medusse, which by day 
" appear like circular masses of transparent jelly, now 
"assume the appearance of cannon-balls heated to 


"whiteness ; and yonder sun-fish seems like a great 

" globe of living fire." 

The composition of the book of which this little essay- 
was intended to be a specimen was the principal occupation 
of 1844. He was paid £120 for the copyright of The 
Ocean, which was published early in 1845, while the author 
was away in Jamaica. The success of this volume was 
surprising, and first opened the eyes of Philip Gosse to the 
fact that he had in him the making of a popular author- 
Edition after edition was sold out, and of all his subsequent 
works few showed a more steady vitality than The Ocean. 
It was the popularity of this book, and regret that he had 
parted with the copyright, which set him meditating on 
schemes of publication which should be more lastingly, if 
less immediately, lucrative ; but some years passed before 
Philip Gosse took the management of his books into his 
own hands. 

The Ocean is a volume which has probably reached a 
more varied circle of readers than any of my father's 
books. It is not the most read or best liked of them, but 
is the one which has perhaps enjoyed the w^idest cir- 
culation. It is eloquently written, and in freedom of 
style marks an immense advance on The Canadian 
Naturalist. The opening chapter deals with the general 
features of ocean, treated poetically and sentimentally ; the 
writer then turns to the subject of which he as yet knew 
little at first hand, but which was presently to absorb 
him entirely, the fauna and flora of the shores of Great 
Britain. The succeeding chapters deal successively with 
the Arctic seas, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian 
Oceans. The book is copiously illustrated by Whymper 
and by the naturalist himself; the natural history subjects 
being drawn on the block by Gosse and cut by Whymper 
in a way which often does great credit to each artist. The 



drawing of the white shark, on p. 284, is a capital instance 
of this double skill. With the warm reception of The 
Ocean, in 1845, Gosse may be said to have begun to be 
distinguished ; but when fame found him, he was far away 
in the tropics. A new chapter of his career had opened. 

Early in 1844, while he was chatting one day with his 
friends in the insect-room of the British Museum, Edward 
Doubleday suggested that Philip Gosse would do well as 
an insect-collector in the tropics. Demerara was origin- 
ally proposed ; then Jamaica, as being less known to 
naturalists, and, entomologically, absolute virgin ground. 
The British Museum had almost nothing from Jamaica, 
nor was anything known of the natural history of the 
island since the days of Sloane and Browne. Gosse 
jumped eagerly at the suggested proposal. He had 
already had some experience in Newfoundland, in Canada, 
and in Alabama, and the prospect appeared to him delight- 
ful in the extreme. He immediately began to prepare. 
He read up all works which touched upon the zoology of 
the West Indies, made drawings of desiderata, especially 
of orchids, butterflies, and humming-birds, constructed 
collecting-boxes, and gradually bought the necessary 

Doubleday introduced him to Hugh Cuming, of Gower 
Street, as an agent for selling the collections to be 
made, and this gentleman, himself a successful collector, 
eave Gosse some useful instructions. He also took him 
down to Kew Gardens, where he began that life-long 
acquaintance with Sir William Hooker, which was to be 
of such lasting profit and pleasure to him. His latest 
occupation of a purely literary nature, before starting, was 
to write for Messrs. Harvey and Darton a Christmas 
annual, which appeared the ensuing winter under the title 
of Glimpses of the Wonderful. This little volume, gaily 


illustrated in the taste of the time, was a " pot-boiler," if 
ever there was one, and the author, though he had not 
scamped his perfunctory task, declined to allow his name 
to appear on the title-page. In the autumn the elder 
Mr. and Mrs. Gosse were removed from Kentish Town 
to a little house at the Oval, Hackney. On October 
20, 1844, their son sailed from the Thames on board 
a vessel bound for Jamaica. Just about the same time 
two other young naturalists set out on collecting expe- 
ditions, Hugh Low for Borneo, and David Dyson for 
Honduras, both having made like agreements with Cuming 
to be their sole agent. 

( i8o ) 


1 844- 1 846. 

IN 1770 Gilbert White of Selborne wrote to Daines 
Barrington : " A sight of the hirundines of that hot 
and distant island of Jamaica would be a great entertain- 
ment to me." Seventy-four years later the ornithology of 
that ancient colony remained, as Bell has said, scarcely 
better known than it was in White's time. It was now 
to be carefully and indeed exhaustively investigated, with 
the result that since Gosse's visit but few new facts of any 
importance have been added to knowledge. He spent 
eighteen months in Jamaica, during which time his atten- 
tion was mainly, though not exclusively, directed to the 
birds of the island. When he arrived, the ornithology of 
Jamaica was in a chaotic state ; when he left, nearly two 
hundred species of birds were clearly ascertained to belong 
to the island fauna. Of mammalia, reptiles, and fishes 
he was able to add twenty-four new species to science. 

The voyage out was not a remarkable one. From the 
zoological point of view its interest culminated in the 
observation, in mid Atlantic, of a very rare, if not absolutely 
undescribed, cetacean. There seems to be very little 
doubt that the troop of large dolphin-like whales which 
sported about the vessel for nearly seventeen hours, on 
November 22 and 23, was identical with the toothless 


whale of Havre {DelpJiinorhynchns microptcrus), of which 
at that time a solitary specimen, washed up at the mouth 
of the Seine, was the only one described by any naturalist. 
A little further on, off the west extremity of Puerto Rico, 
a shoal of the other species of this rare genus, Delphino- 
rhyjicJuis rostratus, or the rosy-bellied dolphin, fell under 
Philip Gosse's observation, and he thus had the opportu- 
nity, in the course of the same voyage, of seeing two 
cetaceans, closely allied, neither of which had, probably, 
been observed alive by any existing zoologist. After 
entering the West Indian seas, the flying-fishes became 
abundant, and he had the opportunity of closely examining 
their habits. He writes at last, under date of December 4, 
as follows : — 

" My first sight of Jamaica was one that I can never 
" forget. . . . During the forenoon the mountains of 
"Jamaica were seen, and gradually grew more distinct 
" as we neared the island. Yet the cloudiness of the day 
'* prevented my having any satisfactory view of it until 
'* evening. About sunset, I w^as standing forward, when 
" one by my side said, ' Look at the Peak ! ' I looked 
" intently, directing my gaze to the neighbourhood of the 
" horizon, w^here I supposed it was to be seen ; but nothing 
'' but the dull white clouds met my eye. ' Up there ! ' 
" said my informant ; and his finger pointed up into the 
** sky ; and there indeed w^as its noble head (perhaps 
"elevated by refraction), a conical mass, darkly blue, 
" above the dense bed of clouds that hung around its 
" sides, and enveloped all beneath its towering elevation. 
" Yet it is situated far inland, and was then full forty 
" miles distant from our ship. But night soon fell, and, 
" as we were somewhat anxiously watching for the light 
" on Point Morant, I had the pleasure of first seeing it 
" from the main rif^crincr. We were soon abreast of it, and 


"as we passed on before an increasing- breeze, that 

" tempered the tropical heat with its refreshing breath, 

"we saw the coast dark and high only a few miles off. 

"Many lights were seen in the scattered cottages, and 

"here and there a fire blazed up from the beach, or a 

" torch in the hand of some fishermen was carried from 

" place to place. My mind was full of Columbus, and of 

"his feelings on that eventful night when the coast of 

" Guanahani lay spread out before him, with its moving 

" lights and proud anticipations. With curiosity and 

" hope, somewhat analogous {parva coviponere magnis), did 

" I contemplate the tropical island before me, its romance 

" heightened by the indefiniteness and obscurity in which 

" it lay. I was on deck several times during the night, 

"and in the intervals was still engaged, in dreams, in 

"endeavouring to penetrate the darkness of the shore." 

At daybreak next morning they were off Port Royal, 

but becalmed ; they had leisure to enjoy one of the most 

brilliant views in the world, the blue crystal sea, the white 

city of Kingston, the majestic Peak, towering eight 

thousand feet into the azure sky, and contrasting, in its 

uniform tone of blue, with the purple ridges of the lower 

mountain ranges. Three black pilots boarded the vessel 

about nine, but it was noon before a gradual breeze sprang 

up and carried them in to Port Royal. Gosse was put 

ashore at the wharf, and walked off to the Palisades, the 

long sandy spit which makes a sea-lake of the ample 

harbour of Kingston. 

" I found it barren enough ; but it all was strange, and 
" to feet which for nearly two months had not felt the 
" firm earth, even a run along the beach was exhilarating. 
"The graceful cocoa-nut palm sprang up in groups from 
"the water's edge, waving its feathery fronds over the 
"rippling waves that dashed about its fibrous foot. 


"Great bushes of prickly pear and other cacti were 
"crrowincr on the low summit of the bank, covering large 
"spaces of ground with their impenetrable masses, 
"presenting a formidable array of spines ; as did also a 
"species of acacia that grew in thickets and single trees. 
" All along the line of high water lay heaps of seaweeds, 
"drying in the sun, among which was particularly 
"abundant a species of Padiua, closely resembling the 
" pretty ' peacock's-tail ' of our own shore, though less 
"regularly beautiful. Sponges of various forms, and 
" large fan corals, with the gelatinous flesh dried on the 
"horny skeleton, were also thrown up on the higher 
"beach ; and I found in some abundance a coralline of 
"a soft consistence, and of a bright grass-green hue. . . . 
" Shells were very scarce on the sea-beach. Several 
"specimens of a brilliant little fish, the chcetoden, were 
"swimming and darting about the narrow but deep 
" pools ; they were not more than an inch in length, 
" marked with alternate bands of black and golden-yellow. 
" In the vertical position in which they swim, with the 
"eye of the observer looking down upon them, they 
" appear to bear the slender proportions of ordinary fishes ; 
" and it is only by accident, as in turning, or on capturing 
" one, that we detect the peculiar form, high and vertically 
" flattened, of this curious genus." 

Next day (December 7), they got under way at daybreak, 
and, avoiding Kingston altogether, sailed for Alligator 
Pond, a dreary little settlement surrounded by heavy 
drifts of sand, where Gosse became first personally intro- 
duced to the exquisite //^/zV^;^/^ butterflies, and to a mango 
humming-bird {Lampornis porpliyrtmis), flashing his ruby 
gorget in the sun while probing the sulphur-coloured 
blossoms of the prickly pear. The vessel stayed several 
days in the neighbourhood of Alligator Pond, and the 


young naturalist took advantage of this fact to make every 
day a fresh excursion inland with his net. A planter, Mr. 
Haffenden, of New Forest, hearing of the arrival of an 
English savant, hospitably invited him to dine and sleep 
at his house, and sent a horse for him. The estate was 
some miles up the valley, and the house one in the most 
splendid colonial style. The balcony offered a view of 
great breadth and magnificence ; the eye roamed over 
many miles of open savannah. " But the most striking 
feature was an enormous mountain rising immediately in 
front of the house, covered to the summit with dark woods ; 
so steep and towering that, as I lay in bed in a lofty room, 
I could but just see a little portion of the sky in the upper 
corner of the window." The top of this mountain was Mr. 
Haffenden's coffee-plantation. While Gosse was staying 
at New Forest, he occupied himself in collecting specimen 
blossoms of the various exquisite orchids, especially 
BroiLghtonia and Bj^asavola, which grew about the rocks in 
the forest. The negro groom who had been sent to 
accompany him was bewildered at this behaviour, and 
afterwards confided to Mr. Haffenden that the "strange 
buckra had taken the trouble to ^Q.t parcels of bush ! " 

The Caroline had landed her mails and principal pas- 
sengers for Kingston at Port Royal, and was now very 
leisurely, chiefly at night, creeping from port to port round 
the south-western coast of Jamaica. It was not until 
December 19 that she reached the point at which Philip 
Gosse had determined to leave her, that port of Savannah- 
le-Mar which lives in literature in a most brilliant and 
paradoxical fragment of De Quincey. In entering the 
harbour, the ship suddenly struck upon the reef that 
divides the former from the expanse of Bluefields Bay. 
This might have proved a fatal accident, but she did not 
strike heavily, and, after two hours' arduous exertion, the 


ship was off again. When morning broke, they were 
running into Savannah-le-Mar through a very narrow 
channel, the coral reef almost touching them on either 
side. Gosse mounted a little way up the shrouds, and saw 
the beautiful bay beneath him, so calm, pure, and trans- 
parent that it seemed simply like gazing down through a 
broad sheet of plate glass. After some days in the 
deplorably dead-and-alive town of Savannah-le-Mar, the 
captain of the Caroline lent Gosse the cutter to Bluefields, 
the house of a ]\Ir. and Mrs. Coleman, ^loravian mis- 
sionaries, with whom he had made arrangements to lodge. 
Several kindly faces were waiting to welcome him on the 
beach, and the good-natured negroes competed for the 
honour of taking his boxes and cases up to the mansion. 

Bluefields, which was now to be his home for eighteen 
months, is marked on the maps as if it were a town of some 
importance on the coast-road from Savannah-le-Mar to 
Black river, on the south-west shore of Jamaica. In point 
of fact it is, or was, but a solitary house ; one of the 
oldest and largest of the planters' mansions in the pros- 
perous times, but already, in 1S44, fallen into partial decay 
in the midst of what was called a "ruinate" plantation. 
It figures in literature in the pages of that ver>^ spirited 
and entertaining novel, Tom Criytgles Log, which gives an 
unsurpassed picture of what Jamaica was in the opening 
years of the centur>'. The gaiety and opulence of Michael 
Scott's Jamaica had, however, given place to commercial 
dejection within the forty years that preceded Philip 
Gosse's visit. In 1844 the beautiful sugar estates through- 
out the island were half desolate, and the planters had 
either ceased to reside in their mansions, or had pitifully 
retrenched their expenses. With all this had come a spirit 
of pietism, and Bluefields, in particular, seems to have been 
the centre of a missionary activity, in the hands of the 


Moravians, which radiated into all parts of the county of 

On board the Caroline Philip Gosse had made the 
acquaintance of a Mr. and Mrs. Plessing, German 
Moravians, who were coming out to Jamaica to be em- 
ployed as missionaries. Their account of Blueiields had 
struck him as singularly attractive to the naturalist, while 
the religious views of the Moravians, which were quite 
novel to him, exercised a fascination over his religious 
curiosity. On arriving at Alligator Pond, therefore, the 
Plessings had written to know whether he could be received 
at Bluefields as a tenant, and without waiting for a reply — 
since Bluefields was large enough to admit a regiment of 
tenants — they proceeded on their leisurely voyage thither. 
Had they waited for an answer, the reply would have been 
in the negative ; for Mr. Coleman and his wife were both 
dangerously ill, and in no position to receive a guest. In 
that climate, however, in a very large house, and sur- 
rounded by willing negroes, the responsibility of a hostess 
may be minimized, and Philip Gosse took up his abode in 
a suite of lightly furnished rooms without disturbing the 

The position of Bluefields was one not only of excep- 
tional beauty, but of singular convenience to a collecting 
zoologist. It lies a little above the sea, on a gentle slope, 
with steep woods rising to the back of it, and a noisy 
rivulet, always exquisitely fresh, brawling under its bam- 
boos and guava trees down to the sea through the heart of 
the estate. Behind the house, a ride of four or five miles 
leads to the summit of the lofty Bluefields Mountain, from 
which the south-western coast of Jamaica is seen as in a 
map from South Negril to Grand Pedro Bluff, with " the 
sparkling Caribbean Sea stretching away to the far, far 
distant horizon " in the direction of Cuba. On his first 


ascent, the naturalist was charmed with an unexpected 
scene on the very brow of the mountain, for this is culti- 
vated as a garden of allspice, and around each tree a 
group of negro children were plucking the aromatic twigs 
in clusters, while flocks of green parrots and parroquets 
were shooting from bough to bough, and screaming dis- 
cordantly as they went. The very Peak itself is densely 
covered with primal forest, "all," as he says, "in the rude 
luxuriant wildness that it bore in the days when the glories 
of these Hesperides first broke upon the astonished 
eyes of Europeans." 

In every direction the neighbourhood of Bluefields 
proved to be a rich field for zoological investigation. The 
mountain-forest rose on one hand ; the seashore, with its 
wall of mangroves, was stretched upon the other ; while 
close around the house the grove of avocado-pear trees, a 
dozen acres of open pasture, the low walls festooned with 
creepers, the valley of the rivulet, the orchid-nurseries on 
the trunks of the straggling calabash trees, all formed so 
many happy hunting grounds at the very threshold of 
home. Gosse's first anxiety was to send something of 
value back by the Caroline, on her return voyage. Without, 
therefore, settling down to any very systematic labour, he 
hastily set about forming a small collection of the Onci- 
diiuns, Angrceciims, and other orchids which he found 
growing in the angles of the calabashes, and in gathering 
land-shells, of which he sent back a cabinet of seven 
hundred and fifty specimens. These, with the addition of 
a few birds, sponges, and ferns, being despatched, he had 
time to turn round and consider himself at home. 

He found himself unable to take the whole trouble of 
collecting without much loss of time, and therefore, on 
January i, 1845, he engaged a negro lad of eighteen, 
Samuel Campbell by baptism and Sam by name, to give 


him his entire services for a salary of four dollars a 
month. This arrangement continued until the naturalist 
returned to England, and proved eminently successful. 
He says : — 

" Sam soon approved himself a most useful assistant 
" by his faithfulness, his tact in learning, and then his 
" skill in practising the art of preparing natural subjects, 
" his patience in pursuing animals, his powers of obser- 
'Wation of facts, and the truthfulness with which he 
" reported them, as well as by the accuracy of his 
" memory with respect to species. Often and often, 
" when a thing has appeared to me new, I have appealed 
" to Sam, who on a moment's examination would reply, 
" ' No, we took this in such a' place, or on such a day,' 
" and I invariably found on my return home that his 
" memory was correct. I never knew him in the slightest 
" degree attempt to embellish a fact, or report more than 
" he had actually seen." 

Sam became so intelligent and serviceable, that, at length, 
he could be trusted upon expeditions of his own, and he 
added not a few specimens, and some of them unique, to 
the general collection. 

For a long time, almost the only breaks in the tranquil 
life at Bluefields were occasional visits to Savannah-le- 
Mar. After the silence of the week, Saturday would 
present a scene of unusual bustle, and not less than one 
hundred persons would assemble at sunrise on the beach 
at Bluefields, a population drained from many square 
miles of the interior. Three or four canoes, laden with 
fruit and vegetables, are slowly packed for the market of 
Savannah-le-Mar, and but little room is left for the legs of 
any would-be passengers : 

" The jabber is immense ; a hundred negroes, many of 
" them women, all talking at once, make no small noise ; 


" and the white teeth arc perpetually shining out in the 
'* sable faces, as the merry laugh — the negro's own 
"laugh — rises continually. The figures of the women, 
" many of them not ungraceful, though plump and 
'' muscular, are picturesque, clad in short gowns of 
"showy colours, and wearing the peculiarly set handker- 
" chief for a head-dress, in form of a turban, often also 
"of bright hues, though in most cases white as snow. 
" They move about amongst the bustle, crowding up to 
" the canoes to stow their ware ; tucking up their frocks 
" still higher as the depth of water increases, regardless 
"of displaying their bronzed legs. At the edge of the 
" water, on whose mirror-like surface the mounting sun 
" begins to pour torridly, the little children sit, sucking 
" cane or oranges, while the elder ones play about them, 
" helping to augment the noise. " 

It was during one of these occasional visits to Savannah- 
le-Mar that he received the news of his father's death. 
Almost immediately after Philip's departure for Jamaica, 
the old gentleman had been seized with an ailment which 
defied medical skill ; it proved fatal on November 26, 1844, 
while his son was crossing the Atlantic. Mr. Thomas Gosse 
was serene in mind to the last, and died apparently without 
pain, and almost without a sigh, conscious, but entirely 
tranquil. He would, in eight months more, have com- 
pleted his eightieth year. The only thing which fluttered 
in the calm of his resigned cheerfulness was the memory 
of one of those hopeless works in prose and verse which 
he had so vainly urged upon the publishers for more than 
half a century. His latest words referred to an epic poem, 
The Impious Rebellion, that he thought he had, on one of the 
last occasions upon which he walked out, left for inspection 
with Messrs. Blackwood, at their London agents'. He was 
doomed, however, to live and die inedited, and when his 


heirs inquired for The Impious Rebellion, behold ! as rare 
things will, it had vanished. 

Philip Gosse's life at Bluefields now took an almost 
mechanical uniformity. The house was, as has been said, 
a well-built mansion ; it was raised, in the colonial fashion, 
high above the ground, so that its dwelling-rooms were 
reached by climbing an exterior staircase. The naturalist 
had no return of those malarial symptoms which had 
troubled him in Alabama. His health in Jamaica was 
very good, at all events during the first year, and his 
spirits excellent. He attributed his good health in great 
measure to the tonic waters of the Paradise River, the 
foaming and brawling rivulet which danced through the 
estate on its way to the ocean. In a hollow of the lime- 
stone rock, under a little cascade, he was in the habit of 
taking a long cool bath every day at noon, under the 
shadow of the bamboos, lounging here for half an hour at 
a time. On one occasion, he was lying motionless, just 
beneath the surface, when he observed that a vulture was 
beginning " to descend in circles, swooping over me, nearer 
and nearer at every turn, until at length the shadow of 
his gaunt form swept close between my face and the light, 
and the rushing of his wide-spread wings fanned my body 
as he passed. It was evident that he had mistaken me for 
a drowned corpse ; and probably it was the motion of 
my open eyes, as I followed his course, that told him all 
was not quite right, and kept him sailing round in low 
circles, instead of alighting." Here, too, in languid passages 
of the day, Philip Gosse would sit and fish for mullet with 
pieces of avocado pear, or grope for crayfish with a fish-pot. 

These, however, were his idler moments, and in such he 
did not very often indulge. He would commonly set forth, 
about daybreak, in company with Sam, riding into the 
forest, alighting; to gather shells, orchids, or insects, and 


pausinc^ to shoot birds. At first, he was fain to borrow a 
gun when he could, but after a month or two, as he saw 
the paramount importance of making a special study of 
the birds of the island, he bought himself a gun, and was 
never without it. He was disappointed in the insects, and 
especially in the butterflies, which he found, at all seasons 
of the year, to be far less numerous than he had antici- 
pated. Butterflies could be obtained but casually, and 
moths were still more rare. He had brought with him, on 
purpose, a bull's-eye lantern, so useful an instrument in 
the hands of northern entomologists, but although he 
repeatedly took it out after nightfall, searching in every 
direction, he never made a single capture in Jamaica by 
this means. There were one or tw^o local exceptions 
to this general scarcity ; a certain mile on the road above 
Content was alive with insects, and most of the specimens 
Gosse secured were captured in this one locality, which did 
not appear to differ in any other way from all neighbouring 
places where no beetles or butterflies could be found. 
When he was at home, or during the periods of tropical 
rain, he was actively engaged in drying and packing his 
plants, preparing his birds, wrapping up his orchids, cleans- 
ing his shells, and putting all these captures into a proper 
condition to be sent ofl* to his sale agent in London. He 
made seven successive shipments to England during his 
stay in the island, and all of these arrived in favourable 
condition. He had become very adroit in the preparation 
of specimens for transit by sea, and, except in orchids, 
suffered few and inconsiderable losses. 

It might be supposed that a missionary station was not 
a favourable centre for the pursuit of scientific enterprise. 
But this was not the case. Gosse's sympathies were with 
the Moravians, and their gentle manners won his affections. 
To collect " bush " and "vermin " was, no doubt, eccentric ; 


but, then, the whole habit of Hfe at the Moravian settlement 
was averse to rule and tradition of every kind. In this 
collection of odd, pictistic, and irregular white men, sur- 
rounded by an emotional crowd of affectionate and half- 
converted blacks, nothing was considered irregular, except 
regularity. They were exceedingly averse to anything 
which savoured of formality, even in their religion, and one 
or two of the leaders, after the lengthy Sunday services, 
would go out with their guns on horseback for the purpose 
of " testifying " against any supposed sanctity in the Lord's 
Day as a day. If on their side they never criticized or 
disturbed the naturalist, he on his was much interested in 
their form of Christianity. It is true that some of their 
oddities puzzled him. He notes in his journal, after the 
first meeting at which he was present, which lasted six 
mortal hours, " the great weariness of body which so long 
a sitting induced prevented me from enjoying the occasion 
nearly so much as I had anticipated." But he soon fell 
into their ways, and consented to help them in their 
services. It was presently proposed that he should preach 
each alternate Sunday at a coffee plantation called Content, 
fifteen miles east of Bluefields, high up in the mountains. 

This proposal fell in well with his scientific projects, for 
the fauna and flora of Content differed very considerably 
from those of Bluefields, and represented a less marine atmo- 
sphere and a higher altitude. There was a little cottage 
at Content, romantically perched on a mass of bare rock 
under the shadow of the mountain, and here he made it a 
practice to lodge for three or four days every fortnight, 
shooting and collecting in the vicinity. In this way he 
would ride far into the interior, sometimes staying all night 
at a hospitable planter's house, and becoming thoroughly 
acquainted with the aspect and the products of this part of 
the colony — never before or since, perhaps, visited by any 


one accustomed to express his observations in words. His 
Naturalist" s Sojourn in Jamaica is full of exquisite descrip- 
tions of the varied and picturesque scenery of the interior 
of the island. 

His most delightful memories in later years were asso- 
ciated with one particular series of scenes, which he visited, 
perhaps, more often than any other. A lonely road led 
over the shoulder of Bluefields Mountain to a half-de- 
serted coffee plantation called Rotherhithe. Philip Gosse 
was frequently accustomed to rise two hours before dawn, 
and, sitting loosely in the saddle, to ride slowly up this 
romantic ascent by the light of the stars, " listening," as 
he says, "to the rich melodies poured forth by dozens 
of mocking-birds from the fruit trees and groves of the 
lower hills," managing to arrive at the brow of the moun- 
tain at sunrise. Then he would leave his horse, and, 
" throwing the bridle over his neck, allow him to graze on 
a little open pasture until my return," while he would 
pursue on foot the road towards Rotherhithe which has 
been mentioned. This was the haunt of several rare birds 
of peculiar interest — of the eccentric jabbering crow, of the 
solitaire, and of the long-tailed humming-bird. It was 
fascinating, in intervals of labour, " to sit on a fallen log 
in the cool shadov/, surrounded by beauty and fragrance, 
listening to the broken hymns of the solitaires, and watch- 
ing the humming-birds that sip fearlessly around your 
head, and ever and anon come and peep close under the 
brim of your broad Panama hat, — as if to say, ' Who are 
you that come intruding into our peculiar domain?'" 

One great difficulty which Philip Gosse met with was 
the absence of all scientific sympathy in Jamaica. He 
could not hear of any other naturalist, native or imported, 
who was working in earnest at the fauna of the island. 
At length, however, his inquiries were rewarded by news of 



a gentleman at Spanish Town, a magistrate and leading 
planter of the name of Richard Hill, who was understood 
to shoot birds and to preserve their skins. To him, then, 
wholly without introduction, Philip Gosse had the happy 
inspiration to write in the autumn of 1845, and the result 
was such as to make him wish that he had written a year 
earlier. The following was the very agreeable reply which 
he received : — 

" Spanish Town, November 6, 1845. 

"Dear Sir, 

" On the receipt of your letter, I took down from 
" my bookshelves The Canadian Nattcralist, and finding 
"the same 'P. H. ' preceding your name there, as in 
"your letter, I perceived that you were already known 
" to me. 1 acknowledge with pleasure the receipt of 
"your communication, and, as an earnest of my desire 
"to assist in turning your time to profit during your 
" sojourn among us, I send you a list of the birds of this 
" country, both migratory and stationary, which are 
"common to us with Central and Northern America. 
" As I have set them down from the list of the prints of 
" Musignano, you will be in no uncertainty as to the 
"objects to which I direct your attention. The advan- 
"tage of this list to you will consist in the number of 
"birds with which your North American experience 
"will make you intimately acquainted. I have added 
" another list containing what may be considered our 
"peculiar ornithology. I have given with this such of 
" the scientific names as I can determine with cer- 
" tainty. 

" My peculiar walk in natural history has been con- 
" fined to birds, with the view of illustrating that branch 
" of our local history ; in other departments my ac- 


"quaintancc is only general. Our vertebrate animals 
"consist but of the agouti, Dasyprocta ; and the aleo, 
" a dog now extinct, but common as a domestic com- 
"panion of the Indians at the time of the discovery. 
" You will find that it was a curly-haired, brown variety 
" of the Mexican terrier, now so generally known as 
"the favourite lap-dog called the Mexican mopsy, the 
" Mexican being the white woolly variety. Our reptiles 
" are not numerous, but they are new to the naturalist ; 
" the alligator and the pretty changeable anolis, with the 
"dilatable gorge, being almost the only ones yet de- 
" scribed to European readers. Our fishes have scarcely 
"been made the subject of investigation. Dr. Parnell, 
" of the British Museum, who was in this island some 
" four years ago, attended, however, exclusively to this 
"field of inquiry, in conjunction with the reptiles. On 
"your return to Europe, you will be able to determine 
" from your own observations in these two departments 
" of vertebrata by the ascertained species in the British 
" Museum. 

" I have nearly completed a series of papers on the 
" migratory instincts of birds, with a view of illus- 
" trating our ornithology, intending, after the manner of 
" Alfred de Malherbe in his Faune Ornithologique de la 
" Sicile, to describe what was particularly our own, and 
" to direct attention to the published descriptions already 
"known of those that were common to us and the 
" neighbouring continent. 

" In o\ix Jamaica Almanac, from 1840 to 1843 inclusive, 
"you will see all that I have published on our local 
"natural history, if I except some few papers on 
"insects in the Royal Agricultural Society's Reporter. 
" I write you hurriedly, having our quarter sessions 
" sitting, and with little time at my disposal ; but I 


"shall not fail to renew my Intercourse with you, if 
" you should in any further communication desire it. 

•' With much respect, pray believe me to be, dear sir, 
" Very faithfully yours, 

"Richard Hill." 

This was the opening passage in one of the warmest 
and most intimate friendships of my father's life, assidu- 
ously cultivated long after his departure from Jamaica, 
and not wholly interrupted until the death of Mr. Hill. In 
185 1, when sending the preface of his Natiiralisfs Sojourn 
in Jamaica to the press, Philip Gosse wrote that he con- 
sidered it "one of the happiest reminiscences of a visit 
unusually pleasant, that it gave him the acquaintance of a 
gentleman whose talents and acquirements would have 
done honour to any country, but whose excellences as a 
man of science, as a gentleman, and as a Christian, shine 
with peculiar lustre in the comparative seclusion of his 
native island ; " and he insisted, in the face of his friend's 
modest entreaties, in appending the words "assisted by 
Richard Hill " to the title-page of each of his own Jamaica 
volumes. They did not meet till 1846, on an occasion 
which shall presently be described. 

In October, 1845, Gosse had occasion to visit the north 
coast of the island of Jamaica, his friend Mr. Deleon 
offering him a seat in his gig. He had thus the oppor- 
tunity of crossing the country twice, and of seeing the 
interior to advantage ; but he found it, from the scientific 
point of view, disappointing. They passed, among other 
things, the remote plantation of Shuttlewood, remarkable 
from the circumstance that it was here that a bag of grass 
seed, brought from Africa to be the food for a cage of 
finches, was emptied out upon the fertile soil, and In due 
time became the nucleus from which guinea-grass, one of 


tlic best pastures in the West Indies, spread to all parts of 
Jamaica. The approach to the town of Montego Bay was 
very fine, and so clear was the atmosphere that the high- 
lands of Cuba, ninety miles away, were seen faintly on the 
north-western horizon. Philip Gosse was the guest while 
at Montego Bay of Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Lewin. With this 
gentleman he had already corresponded on zoological ques- 
tions, and had obtained useful notes from him. The 
naturalist's experience in the north of Jamaica was sufficient 
to persuade him that he had done perfectly right to settle 
in the southern district of the island. He found the fauna 
and flora in the country of St. James distinctly more scanty 
and less valuable than in his own Westmoreland and St. 
Elizabeth. This was the most extensive of many excur- 
sions which he took from the central stations of Bluefields 
and Content, sometimes riding out until nightfall, and 
trusting to the never-failing Jamaica hospitality to supply 
him with a bed. 

For a whole year his health was excellent, and even 
when Sam got the fever in consequence of their explora- 
tions in damp hot hollows of the forest, his master escaped 
scot-free. Towards the end of December, 1845, however, 
after stalking yellow bitterns for a day or two in the 
morass, and ending up with several hours spent knee-deep 
in the deep mud of the fcetid creek, getting pot-shots at 
pelicans and kingfishers, both the white naturalist and the 
black one were laid up with a very sharp attack of fever. 
Four days later, they were both down in the creek morass 
again, shooting snipe and ground-doves, but from this time 
forth Philip Gosse was liable to violent headaches and 
sickness at quickly recurring intervals. He consequently 
began to put his house in order, cataloguing his captures 
and preparing to leave the country. 

On March 3, 1846, he rode with Sam to Savannah-le- 


I\Iar, and took berth on board the steamer Earl of Elgin, 
which was coasting eastwards. After a day's pleasant 
steaming along the south shore of Jamaica, they got into 
Kingston Harbour at nightfall. The tossing of the Ca- 
ribbean Sea was exchanged for the smooth surface of the 
land-locked harbour, over which a flock of gulls were 
flying and hovering. He proceeded to a noisy hot hotel, 
where the contrast with the still cool nights of Bluefields, 
scarcely broken by the note of a bird or a bat, kept him 
awake till near morning, or at least till long after a riotous 
party of billiard-players had finally decided to break up. 
He rose early and walked about the dirty and unattractive 
capital of Jamaica. Having despatched a note to Mr. 
Richard Hill, in Spanish Town, to announce his arrival, 
he paid some calls, and drove out a little way into the 
country, to find, on his return to the hotel, that Mr. Hill 
had instantly responded to his summons, and was in the 
parlour waiting to welcome him. This was the first meet- 
ing of the brother ornithologists. The next day Mr. Hill 
did the honours of Kingston, and in particular took Gosse 
to the rooms of the Jamaica Society, where they examined 
together Dr. Anthony Robinson's drawings of birds and 
plants. The specimens in the town museum were few and 
in wretched preservation, yet the objects in themselves 
mostly good. By the afternoon train the friends left 
Kingston for Spanish Town, and spent the evening in 
examining a large collection of drawings of birds, made 
by Richard Hill himself. 

Philip Gosse's brief stay at Spanish Town was made 
extremely pleasant to him by the assiduous hospitalities 
of Richard Hill. On the lOth, in company with Mr. Hill 
and a young collector, Mr. Osborne, who had been invited 
to meet the English naturalist, Sam and the latter 
ascended Highgate, a peak of the Liguanea Mountains, 


about three thousand feet above the sea. From this point 
there is a famous view, which has several times been 
described ; not only does the sinuous southern coast of 
Jamaica lie spread out before the spectator, but the 
northern sea, near Annotto Bay, can also be seen shining 
between the peaks. The ascent occupied six hours, and 
when another hour had been spent in searching for shells 
and insects, it was time to take shelter for the night in a 
house under the brow of the mountains. Here the tem- 
perature was delightfully cold, and the travellers were even 
glad to roll blankets around them in their beds. Next 
morning they gazed again on the magnificence of the 
unrivalled prospect at their feet, but soon after sunrise it 
was necessary to start for Spanish Town, He thus 
describes the drive back in his journal (March 1 1, 1846) : — 
" We returned by a different route, skirting the sum- 
" mits of the Liguanea Mountains, and passing through 
" smiling plantations, in order to descend into the 
" romantic parish of St. Thomas in the Vale. After a 
" while, we crossed and recrossed, many times, the 
" winding Rio d'Oro, and at length entered the magnifi- 
" cent gorge called the Bog Walk (i.e. bocacaz, a sluice), 
*' through which runs the Cobre, formed by the union of 
*' the Negro and the D'Oro. The road lay for four 
" miles through this deep gorge, by the side of the river, 
" and afforded at every turn fresh scenes of surpassing 
" wildness, grandeur, and beauty. The rock often rose 
" to a great height on each side, leaving only room for 
" the rushing stream which seemed to have cleft its 
"course, and the narrow pathway at its side. Some- 
" times, across the river, the side of the ravine receded 
"in the form of a very steep but sloping mountain, 
*' covered with a forest of large timber, and so clear of 
" underwood, that the eye could peer far up into its 


"gloomy recesses. Here and there the course of the 
" river was dammed up by islets ; some of them mere 
" masses of dark rock, others adorned with the elegant 
" waving plumes of the graceful bamboo. But the most 
" remarkable object was the immense rock called 
" Gibraltar, which rises on the opposite bank of the 
" river, from the water's edge, absolutely perpendicular, 
" to the height of five or six hundred feet ; a broad mass 
"of limestone, twice as high as St. Paul's." 
At nightfall the same day, their carriage drove into the 
streets of Spanish Town. Two or three days later, the 
friends began a revised list of the birds of Jamaica, the 
discoveries of each being able to fill up gaps in the expe- 
rience of the other ; and this was the occupation of each 
successive evening. On the 17th they finished their list, 
making out 184 species of birds more or less clearly. Sam 
was all this time actively engaged on daily excursions, 
usually alone, and he rarely failed to bring home at night 
at least one interesting rarity. The next day the friends 
betook themselves to Kingston, and in the rooms of the 
Jamaica Society carefully compared their list of birds with 
that in Robinson's manuscripts. It should here be ex- 
plained that Dr. Anthony Robinson, a surgeon practising 
in Jamaica in the middle of the eighteenth century, had 
left behind him a very valuable mass of information on 
the zoology and botany of the island, which had been 
preserved, in five folio volumes, in the archives of the 
Jamaica Society in Kingston. " The specific descriptions, 
admeasurements, and details of colouring," Philip Gosse 
wrote in reference to these collections, " are executed with 
an elaborate accuracy worthy of a period of science far 
in advance of that in which Robinson lived, and accom- 
panying the manuscripts are several volumes of carefully 
executed drawings, mostly coloured." On March 23, 


Philip Gosse, accompanied by the ever-faithful Sam, 
took leave of his hospitable friend, and started from 
Kingston in the coasting steamer The Wave. An 
easterly breeze from Port Royal carried them roughly 
but swiftly back to Bluefields, the captain making a 
special exception in the naturalist's favour by droppmg 
the two passengers at Bluefields, instead of carrying them 
on to Savannah-le-Mar. No one had ever enjoyed this 
privilege before, and the wanderers were welcomed with 
as much bewilderment as delight. They had been exactly 
three weeks away from home, three weeks which formed 
a delightful oasis of intellectual excitement in Philip 
Gosse's monotonous existence. He had left Bluefields 
dispirited and poorly ; he returned in buoyant health and 

He once more fell into the regular and monotonous life 
of the collector, riding out to shoot every day, sending 
Sam, and other lads whom he had trained, into the forest 
for plants and insects, and spending his evenings in pre- 
paring his captives for the transit to England. On 
June i8, 1846, he rather suddenly determined to bring 
his stay at Bluefields to a close, and sent to the bay to 
engage a passage for himself and Sam on board a sloop, or 
drogger^ which was just starting for Kingston. His parting 
with the kind and faithful Colemans was a pathetic one, 
and when he set foot on the vessel, he turned " to gaze for 
the last time at a place where I have spent so many 
pleasant months." The voyage occupied seven dreary 
days, mitigated by a day agreeably spent on shore, at 
Black River, with some friends. He had the pleasant 
consciousness, while knocking about under Pedro Bluff, 
that the English packet, which he had hoped to catch, must 
be then just leaving Kingston. On the morning of the last 
day (June 26) he had a curious and very embarrassing 


experience. While lying in the berth of the h'ttle close 
cabin, he was awakened by a severe twinge in the side of 
his neck ; on putting his hand to the place, he took hold 
of some object which was so firmly fastened to the flesh 
that it required a sharp tug to make it let go. By the 
dim light of the cabin-lamp he discovered that he had 
caught, fortunately by the tail, a large scorpion. The 
pain was sharp, but perhaps not greater than that of a 
wasp-sting ; the wound swelled rapidly, but, being rubbed 
with rum by the old skipper, speedily healed. '' One of 
the most curious of the results was a numbness of some of 
the nerves of the tongue, perceptible in the papillce of the 
surface, which felt as if dead." 

They entered Kingston Harbour that night, and finding 
that, as he anticipated, he had missed the packet, Philip 
Gosse took lodgings in the town, not altogether displeased 
to be forced to see something more of the capital of 
Jamaica. Next day he engaged a berth on board the 
steamer Avon, which was to sail on July 9. He met 
Richard Hill, by a fortunate accident, that same afternoon, 
and received from him the welcome news that the Jamaica 
Society had resolved to entrust him with the Anthony 
Robinson manuscripts to take with him to Europe. 
He went up then and there to the society's rooms, and 
secured these valuable papers. After a fortnight, divided 
between Spanish Town and Kingston, and much spoiled 
by the distress of an ulcerated leg, he at length said fare- 
well to his friends and to Jamaica, Richard Hill waving 
adieu to him from the quay at Kingston, and another 
friend, Dr. Fairbank, kindly accompanying him, for com- 
pany's sake, so far as Port Royal. His last glimpse of 
Jamaica was the twinkling of the lighthouse on Point 
Morant. Next day, at daybreak, the mountains of Hayti 
were visible, and " during the whole day we ran along the 


great promontory of Tiburon, the ancient province of 
Xavagna, once the happy domain of the beautiful and 
unfortunate Princess Anacaona." On the following morn- 
ing, when he came on deck, the Avon was putting off mails 
in the land-locked harbour of Jacmel, in Hayti. " There 
had been rain in the night, and the shaggy hill-tops were 
partially robed in fragments of cloud, undefined and 
changing, which contrasted finely with the dark surface of 
the forest. Inland the mountains in the morning sun 
looked inviting ; and I noticed that they displayed the 
same singular resemblance to crumpled paper, as those in 
the eastern part of Jamaica." 

The Avon steamed across to Puerto Rico, and ran, all 
through the 13th, along the northern shore of that island, 
" the land thickly strewn with cultivated estates, spotted 
with clumps of trees, and presenting a very beautiful 
appearance, contrasting in this respect with both Jamaica 
and Hayti, whose forest coasts display little trace of culti- 
vation, and look rude and uninviting." Soon after noon, 
the Moro, or fortification which protects the town of San 
Juan, was in sight, like a white wall projecting into the sea, 
and four hours later the steamer moored under it. 

" The town, walled and strongly fortified, reminded 
" me, with its turret-like houses, and little balconies to 
" each window, of engravings of Spanish cities ; and 
" when I went ashore and wandered through the streets, 
" ladies in black mantillas, opening and shutting their 
" fans as they walked, solemn priests in black robes and 
" shovel hats, the children, the men, \\\q posadas (taverns), 
" everything had such a novel character as I had never 
" before seen. For, in all my travels, I have never before 
" set foot in any other country than such as are inha- 
" bited by the Anglo-Saxon race. After partaking of a 
" little nicety in a posada, and seeing the paved parts of 


" the town, I and a single companion who had separated 

" from the main party found that we could not get a 

" boat for less than four dollars, for about fifteen minutes' 

" rowing. The steamer, however, was under way, and 

" we had no alternative but to pay it, and I found that 

" my afternoon's stroll had cost me half a guinea." 

The reason of his separation from the others was that 

they had all trooped into the cathedral, where Philip 

Gosse's strong conscientious objection to the Roman 

Catholic forms of worship made it impossible for him to 

follow them. To the end of his days he never, on one 

single occasion, entered what it was his uncompromising 

habit to call a "popish mass-house." 

A little before daybreak next morning, the steamer got 
into the Danish harbour of St. Thomas. Though it 
rained hard until after sunrise, and the mist enveloped the 
hills, yet the beauty of the town, rising from the sea on 
the sides of three conical mountains, could not be con- 
cealed. Gosse walked a little way into the bush, and 
captured fifty-two insects, almost all of them new to him, 
among; which were some fine and curious Ctirciilionidcs 
and Longiconis. In the evening he took another pleasant, 
though rather fatiguing walk, and saw the Slip, " a noble 
work on which the largest ships can be hauled up and 
repaired." Next morning he again entomologized in the 
bush, and captured fifty-four insects. He saw all the 
sights of St. Thomas, visited the Moravian mission, " called 
on Mr. Nathan, the Chief Rabbi, a very friendly and gen- 
tleman-like man," and went back to the steamer to sleep. 
At sunrise on the i6th, they quitted the beautiful harbour 
of St. Thomas, having received many new passengers, and 
steamed north for Bermuda. These two slight excursions, 
at San Juan and St. Thomas, were the only occasions, 
during the whole of my father's life, when he stepped on 
land that was not Anglo-Saxon. 


On the 20th the Avoft arrived at Bermuda, where the 
traveller "admired the English-looking beauty of the 
islands, divided into fields and strewn with pretty white 
houses." Off the small island of Ireland, the goods and 
passengers were transferred to the steamer Clyde, and the 
Avon made her way back to Havannah. Scarcely had the 
former vessel started eastward on the following day, than 
Philip Gosse was attacked with violent headache. The 
symptoms of brain fever rapidly displayed themselves, and 
for a fortnight he was very dangerously ill. On August 
4 he was permitted by the ship's doctor to creep up on 
deck for the first time, and to enjoy the pleasing sight of 
the Land's End, dimly visible at a distance of twenty-five 
miles. Next day, still very weak and wretched, yet 
steadily gaining strength, he was put on shore at South- 
ampton, and enjoyed a long sleep in an hotel bed. Next 
morning (August 6, 1846) he took an early train for 
London, reached his mother to find her well, and had the 
satisfaction, in unpacking his specimens, to discover all 
uninjured. Moreover his living birds, which some kind 
person on board the steamer had attended to during his 
brain fever, were in good health, only two, the blue pigeon 
and the mountain witch, having died. 

My father's single episode of tropical life had now closed. 
It had been in every respect a signally successful one. 
Those theoretical zoologists who had encouraged him to 
go out to Jamaica were satisfied, and far more than satis- 
fied, with the practical result of his labours. The chronicle 
of his life in Jamaica is monotonous, because it was so 
crowded with scientific incident. He stuck to his work, 
and not a single week-day passed in which he did not add 
something to his experience. 

( 206 ) 


1846— 185 I. 

THE record of the next two years is scanty. They 
were spent in close retirement and in almost incessant 
literary labour. Philip Gosse came back from Jamaica 
considerably altered and matured ; from a belated youth 
he had slipped rather suddenly into premature middle age. 
The climate of the West Indies, his solitary conditions 
there, coinciding with a period of life which is often critical, 
had their effect upon his person and his temperament. It 
may be well, at this point, to give some description of the 
former, which underwent no further perceptible change for 
many years. He was under middle size ; slight, and almost 
slim, when he had left England, he returned from Jamaica 
thick-set and heavy-limbed, troubled with a corpulence that 
was not quite healthy. His face was large and massive, 
extremely pallid, with great strength in the chin, and long, 
tightly compressed lips ; decidedly grim in expression, but 
lio-hted up by hazel eyes of extraordinary size and fulness. 
These eyes, which have been compared (I suppose more 
with regard to their luminous character than their shape) 
with the eyes of Lord Beaconsfield, were the most obvious 
peculiarity of the face, which was, nevertheless, chiefly 
remarkable, to a careful observer, for the tense and exalted 
nature of the expression it habitually wore. Nothing was 


more common, even among my father's own family, than 
for a person who approached him with the design of asking 
a question or making a remark, to hesitate, scared by his 
apparent austerity. No one can doubt that, without in- 
tending to be so, he was often not a Httle awe-inspiring. 
This was partly caused by his introspective habit of mind, 
self-contained in meditation ; partly also by his extreme 
timidity, w^hich found a shelter under this severe and 
awful mien. Very often, when the person who approached 
him wondered whether those oracular lips would fulminate, 
the oracle himself w^as only speculating how soon he could 
flee away into his study and be at rest. The air of 
severity was increased by the habit of brushing his straight 
black hair tightly away from the forehead ; it w^as occa- 
sionally removed by a cloud of immeasurable tenderness 
passing across the great brown lustrous orbs of his eyes. 
His smile was rare, but when it came it was exquisite.* 

That his standard, both for himself and others, w^as high, 
and that his manner towards an offender could be formi- 
dable, it would be easy to prove. x-\t this juncture one 
striking example may suffice. One of the difficulties of 
the Moravian mission at Bluefields had been the unalter- 
able prejudice against treating the negroes as exact 
equals with white men and women. It was especially 
hard to overcome the feeling of shame and repulsion with 
which West Indian society regarded the idea of mixed 
marriages between whites and blacks. To the Moravians, 
however, it appeared that no difference should be made 
when the Church had received members of the two races 

* A very remarkable accidental portrait of my father, as he looked when he 
was about sixty years of age, exists in the museum at Brussels. Philip Gosse 
might have sat for the man, holding a crimson missal, who kneels in the lelt- 
hand wing of the triptych, by Bernard van Orley (No. 40 in the Catalogue), 
except that the nose is too large and flat. The eyes and mouth, the general 
form of the face, and the colour of the skin are marvellously identical. 


to a like communion, and a certain person, apparently to 
gain prestige with the body, had expressed himself willing 
to marry a converted negro girl, and had gone through the 
ceremony of betrothal at Bluefields. But on his returning 
to England no more had been heard of him, and Philip 
Gosse was commissioned to remind him of his promise. 
He did so immediately on his own arrival in London, and 
received a flippant reply. To this he returned the follow- 
ing answer : — 

" I have received your note of yesterday. I cannot 
"say that it would give me any pleasure to see you, 
" knowing as I do your behaviour to Sister Stevens. I 
" desire to write in a humiliating sense of my own failure, 
"yet in faithfulness I must say that the whole affair, 
"the breaking of a solemn engagement, the coolness 
" with which you could crush a sister's happiness, and 
" above all the insincerity, I had almost said the duplicity, 
"which has marked your whole course in it, renders any 
"communion with you out of the question. I cannot 
" help believing, with almost a moral certainty, that even 
" when you recorded your betrothal before the Church at 
" Bluefields, you had not even the slightest intention of 
"returning to fulfil it. And when the tenor of your 
" letters began to intrude painful suspicions on our 
" minds, and Coleman and myself felt constrained to- 
" wards you, your replies (at least that to me) insinu- 
"ated that you were still unchanged in intention, and 
"that your health was the only obstacle. But when 
" I read (I cannot help adding with indignation) in your 
"late letters to Sister S. your heartless breach of 
"promise, a breach which would evoke the scorn of 
" every worldly man of honourable feeling, and which 
" in a court of law would be visited with heavy damages, 


" I saw at once how cgregiously our love and confidence 
" had been misplaced. I know not the nature of the 
"purification of which you speak, but if this is the fruit 
" of it, I desire not to know it. 

" Perhaps you may think I am severe ; I write not in 
" bitterness, but in grief. To me the transaction seems 
"a very shocking one; and it is not the least painful 
" trait in it, that you can write of it so lightly, as if it were 
"an everyday matter. I trust the Lord may trouble 
" your conscience about it, which I had much rather see 
" than your present complacency ; to Him I leave you. 
" Remaining 

" Yours in much sorrow, 

"P. H. GOSSE." 

The conditions under which Philip Gosse had gone out 
to Jamaica, and those under which he now returned, may 
be gathered from the following letter addressed to the 
well-known collector of natural objects, Mr. W. W. 
Saunders : — 

" Dalston, August 8, 1846. 
*'My dear Sir, 

"Your favour of the i6th of April, acknow 
"ledging the receipt of the first consignment of woods, 
" was received in due course. In May I shipped another 
"lot of specimens, and that vessel, I understand, has 
" been here some little time. That I did not write by 
"her, giving you an account of the consignment, was 
" owing to the fact that I believed myself on the point 
" of sailing for England by the steamer ; and, fully ex- 
"pecting to be in England long before the specimens, 
" I intended to write to you from London. I was, how- 
" ever, strangely disappointed of two successive packets, 



"and am now only just arrived by the Clyde. I have 
"taken some pains to ascertain the botanical names of 
" the woods, but have not succeeded in all cases. What- 
" ever little personal trouble I have been at in procuring 
" these woods, I beg you to consider has been undertaken 
''con amove. It is but a very small return for the kind- 
" ness you exhibited towards me in so very promptly 
" advancing me aid when I was rather short of cash. 
" Any allusion to pecuniary remuneration, direct or 
" indirect, for this, will only grieve my feelings, so that 
" you will permit me gratefully to decline it. The 
" expenses actually incurred I have no objection to your 
" refunding, though it will be pleasing to me if you will 
" accept this also. But as you might find this disagree- 
" able, I enclose a little note of the expenses incurred in 
"procuring and shipping the specimens. Should you 
" have an opportunity of seeing Mr. John A. Hankey, 
" I beg that you will present my compliments to him, 
"with cordial thanks for his politeness in allowing my 
" specimens of natural history to pass freight free." 

It appears from this letter, and from other documents, 
that, eminently successful as the Jamaica trip had been, it 
had not led to any definite addition to Gosse's means of 
income. He had supported himself with independence in 
the West Indies, and he had brought back, in addition to 
his sales, a collection of miscellaneous objects for which he 
slowly found purchasers ; but he had no security for the 
future. The British Museum proposed another excursion, 
this time to the Azores, and he made some preliminaries 
towards starting in the winter of 1846, bought a Portu- 
guese grammar, learned the mode of arriving at Fayal 
from Madeira, and began a list of Azorean desiderata. 
But the scheme fell through, mainly because an abundance 


of literary work immediately came in his way, and pro- 
mised to be quite as lucrative as a tropical excursion and 
much less laborious. He was very properly anxious, 
moreover, to give due literary form to the ornithological 
discoveries which he had made in the West Indies, and 
before he had been a month in London, he began to write 
for Mr. Van Voorst his volume on The Birds of Jamaica, 
which he completed in the following March. This was 
one of the most important and compendious of his works, 
and he tempered the strain of its composition by com- 
piling, at the same time, for his old friends the Society for 
Promoting Christian Knowledge, a volume on The Monu- 
iuents of Ancient Egypt, which, however, was not published 
until November, 1847. This book professes to be no more 
than *' a plain treatise for plain people," and Philip Gosse 
had no first-hand knowledge of archaeology. He was, 
however, helped in writing it by two distinguished Egypto- 
logists — Dr. Samuel Birch, of the British Museum, and 
the Rev. G. G. Renouard, Rector of Swanscombe, in Kent. 
It is, of course, long since obsolete, but it ran with esteem 
through several editions. 

The Birds of Jamaica was published on May i, 1847, 
and was received with great respect by the world of 
science. He says, in one of his letters, speaking of this 
book, " It sells rather slowly, but every one praises it, and 
it has been well reviewed in Germany." The publication 
of The Birds of Jamaica raised Philip Gosse's reputation 
with a bound, and among those ornithologists who took 
this opportunity of making his personal acquaintance, and 
gave expression to their admiration, were prominent Sir 
William Jardine, the Vicomte du Bus, John Gould, and 
D. W. Mitchell. The book filled a gap in the existing 
records of science, and it contrived to please two classes of 
readers, since, while its scientific definitions were accurate 


and detailed, no observation of habits and no characteristic 
anecdote was omitted to fill up the portrait of each 
successive bird. The only complaint which was made by 
the reviewers was the entire lack of illustrations, the 
absence of which was presently explained and removed, 
as we shall see in due course. On the title-page of The 
Birds of Jamaica the words " assisted by Richard Hill, 
Esq., of Spanish Town," succeeded the name of the author, 
although greatly against that modest gentleman's wish, 
and the publication was delayed by the fact that every 
sheet was sent out to Spanish Town to be read in proof by 
Mr. Hill. The Birds of Jamaica once launched, Philip 
Gosse immediately began, in a quiet way, that labour in 
the popularization of science which was ultimately to form 
so large a proportion of his life's work. Once more the 
S.P.C.K. suggested to him that a series of small volumes, 
strictly accurate from a scientific point of view, but giving 
zoological facts in a form easily to be comprehended by 
the public, would be of great service to the general reader. 
Nothing of the kind existed, and he gladly undertook to 
open such a series. He began the Mammalia in June, 
1847, and it was published a year later, having occupied 
but a small part of those months. It was copiously illus- 
trated with woodcuts designed by the author and by 
J. W. Whymper. 

In the spring of 1847, while stooping to dig up gladiolus 
bulbs from the grass-plot of his friend, Mr. William Berger, 
my father was suddenly conscious of pain, apparently 
caused by a strain to the liver, and from this time forth, 
for fifteen years at least, he was more or less continuously 
subject to what was supposed to be dyspepsia, often very 
acute in character, and causing great depression of spirits. 
The fact that he was constantly reading and writing, 
and that he took no exercise of any kind, except a little 


work in his garden, did not improve matters. In the 
record of his career at this time, his reUfjious Hfe must not 
be omitted. After his return from Jamaica in 1846, he 
was for some time connected with no body of Christians, 
but in April of the following year he joined a few other 
persons, almost all of them educated men, in forming at 
Hackney a meeting of the communion then recently 
united, throughout England, under the title of " Brethren," 
or " Plymouth Brethren," as they were usually called, 
apparently from the circumstance that their central meet- 
ing was at Bristol, which, like Plymouth (where for some 
time they did not exist), is in the west of England. The 
tenets of this body are perhaps well known. They may be 
best described by a series of negations. The Brethren 
have no ritual, no appointed minister, no government, no 
hierarchy of any kind ; they eschew all that is systematic 
or vertebrate ; their manner of worship is the most 
socialistic hitherto invented. Their positive tenets are an 
implicit following of the text of Holy Scripture, the 
enforcement of adult baptism, subsequent upon conversion 
and preliminary to the partaking of the Lord's Supper in 
both kinds, the loaf of bread and the cup of wine being 
passed from hand to hand in silence, every Sunday 

Whether this interesting sect still- exists in anything 
like its early simplicity I cannot say, but I think not. It 
is at all events certain that it very soon suffered from a 
violent split in its own corporation, if such a word may be 
used of a conglomeration of atoms, and that its obscure 
meetings became a byword for bigotry and unlovely 
prejudice. But in its beginning, and when Philip Gosse 
and his friends first gathered round a deal table in a bare 
room in Hackney, this Utopian dream of a Christian 
socialism, with all its simplicity, naivete, and earnest faith, 


was one at which those who knew human nature better 
might smile, but which was neither ignoble nor unattractive. 
These early Brethren had at least one strong point. 
The absence from their ritual of any other book threw 
them upon the study of the Bible, and the fact that mast 
of the founders of the sect were educated and, perhaps it 
may be added, somewhat eccentrically educated men, 
made their exposition of the Scripture deep, ingenious, 
and unconventional. 

One result of these new religious ties w^as the formation 
of fresh scruples with regard to any action of a worldly 
kind. The Brethren held that it was the duty of the 
Christian to leave all revenge to God, to bow to injury 
and insult, and, above all, on no occasion to use any form 
of words stronger than affirmation. In the autumn of 
1847, while Philip Gosse was looking into the window of 
a print shop, at the corner of Wellington Street, Strand, a 
boy picked his pocket of a silk handkerchief. A police- 
man saw the thief, caught him, and dragged him to Bow 
Street, where the victim of the theft was asked to prose- 
cute ; " but I," says my father in a letter recording the 
incident, " from Brethren's notions of grace, refused, and 
they would not restore me the handkerchief" Soon after- 
wards, while his mother, he, and the servant-maid were all 
out at meeting one Sunday morning, the house was broken 
open and robbed. A watch, some miniatures, and other 
valuables were stolen. The police came to make inquiries, 
but, for conscience' sake, the owner refused to take any 
steps in pursuit. I should add that the extreme punctilio 
of which these trifling occurrences are examples was after- 
wards modified ; but my father always retained a great 
repugnance to the prosecution of individual criminals, 
though very severe on crime in the abstract. 

Amono- those who met, with this austere simplicity, at 


the mccting-room at Hackney, was a lady of American 
parentage, equally remarkable for her outward charms and 
her inward accomplishments. Of this lady, destined to 
take so large a part in the life of Philip Gosse, her only 
son may be permitted to give at this point a more 
particular account. Although IMiss Emily Bowes was 
born in England, on November 10, 1806, both her father, 
William Bowes, and her mother, Hannah Troutbeck, were 
Bostonians of pure Massachusetts descent. Her people 
had taken the English side in 1775. When "the Boston 
teapot bubbled," her father — who had been duly baptized, 
as befitted a good Bostonian, by Dr. Samuel Cooper, at 
Brattle Street meeting-house — was hurried away by his 
parents, whose nerves the "tea-party" had shaken, to 
North Wales, where the family settled in the neighbour- 
hood of Snowdon. But William Bowes, with his undiluted 
Massachusetts blood, had been forced to be a loyalist in 
vain, for, once grown to man's estate, to Boston he went 
back for a wife, and secured a New Englander as true 
as himself in Hannah, daughter of the Rev. John Troutbeck, 
formerly King's Chaplain in Boston, U.S.A. Mrs. Bowes 
was born in 1768, close to Governor Winthrop's house in 
South Street, Boston. She lived to be eighty-three, and 
the writer of these lines has been seated in her arms. In 
Dr. O. W. Holmes's words — . 

'^ She had heard the muskets' rattle of the April running battle ; 
Lord Percy'-s hunted soldiers, she could see their red coats still," 

and, when he thinks of her, her grandson thrills with a 
divided patriotism. 

Through her father, Miss Bowes was directly descended 
from one of the most distinguished families of New 
England. Her great-grandfather, Nicholas Bowes, of 
Boston, born in 1706, graduate of Harvard, and for twenty 
years minister of New Bedford, married Lucy Hancock, 


aunt of the famous Governor John Hancock, whose signa- 
ture stands so big and bold on the Declaration of American 
Independence. Succeeding Boweses had intermarried into 
good Massachusetts families — -Whitneys and Stoddards 
and Remingtons — and had thus preserved to an unusual 
extent the purity of their local strain. 

Miss Emily Bowes had suffered from severe vicissitudes 
of fortune. Her infancy, and that of her two younger 
brothers, had been spent in moderate circumstances ; but 
her father, who had a splendid capacity for the dispersion 
of w^ealth, had meanwhile inherited a large property and 
spent it, nearly to the last penny. Almost the only 
advantages which had accrued to his daughter from the 
few years of their opulence, were comprised in the very 
complete and extensive education which Mr. Bowes, proud 
of her intellectual gifts, had provided her. She was not 
only taught all that girls at that time were supposed 
capable of learning, but, at her own desire, excellent tutors 
had been engaged to ground her in Latin, in Greek, and 
even in Hebrew. She had great force of character and 
rapidity of action. When the crash came, her brothers 
were at that critical age when to pursue education a little 
further is the only means by which what has been learned 
can be made of any service in the future. Emily Bowes 
undertook the training of the boys, and when the time 
came for the eldest to go to college, she devoted the 
interest of her own small capital to his maintenance there, 
and went out as a governess that she might add to that 
scanty sum. A governess she remained until her brothers 
— excellent young men, but with none of her force of 
mind — were started in life, and then, with deep thankful- 
ness, she retired from w^ork to the irksomeness of which 
she preferred the most straitened independence. At the 
time that my father became acquainted with her, she was 


living in a very quiet way, keeping house in Clapton for 
her aged parents. 

Emily Bowes was in her forty-third year when Philip 
Gosse first met her, but she retained a remarkable appear- 
ance of youth. Her figure was slim and tall, her neck of 
singular length and grace ; her face small, with rather 
large and regular features, clear blue eyes delicately set in 
pink lids, under arched and pencilled auburn eyebrows ; 
the mouth very sensitive, with something of the expression 
of Sir Joshua's little *' Child with the Rat-Trap ; " the 
whole face surmounted by copious rolls and loops, in the 
fashion of the period, of orange-auburn hair. In earlier 
life the complexion had been brilliant, but almost the only 
sign of the passage of years, in 1848, was the pallor of the 
skin, w^hich was, moreover, badly freckled. But for her 
complexion she would still have been a very pretty woman, 
of the type admired by the painters of to-day. She was 
painted several times, and in particular there existed of her 
a very amusing full-length oil portrait, by G. F. Joseph, 
A.R.A., which represented her in a pink satin dress, at the 
age of six, bareheaded and barelegged, on the top of 
Snowdon in a storm, with forked lightning playing behind 
her. This was hung, in its day, in the Royal Academy, and 
was stolen, alas ! a few years ago, by a person who certainly 
could obtain very little satisfaction from a theft which left 
our family sensibly poorer. 

Miss Emily Bowes was one of those who had accepted 
the views of the Plymouth Brethren, and as there was no 
meeting of these Christians in Clapton, she was in the 
habit of walking over to Hackney on Sunday mornings, 
usually lunching there, and returning home after the 
evening meeting. In this manner she naturally formed 
the acquaintance of Philip Gosse, who was immediately 
attracted by her wide range of knowledge and by her 


literary tastes. She was the author of two Httle volumes 
of published poems of a religious cast ; she was almost as 
great a lover of verse as he was himself. She was sympa- 
thetic, gentle, quick, eminently intelligent. He, on the 
other hand, little accustomed to the company of any 
woman but his aged mother, felt himself awkward with 
girls. He had no small-talk, no common change of con- 
versation. The charm of Emily Bowes lay in the maturity 
of her mind, the gravity of her tastes. Yet it was quite 
abruptly, and without premeditation, that he took the step 
of asking for her hand. It was on Sunday evening, 
September 17, 1848, that the sudden resolution took him 
as he was about to say farewell to her at her garden-gate. 
When he reflected that he had proposed marriage to her, 
and that she had not rejected him, there was a moment of 
intense remorse. He was too poor, he reflected, too little 
likely to make a proper competence, to have the right to 
link another life to his own. But she was accustomed to 
poverty, she loved him already, she believed in his future, 
• and she was eminently careless about luxury. They were 
betrothed, and, after a short delay, they were married at 
Tottenham, on November 22, 1848, from the house of the 
late Mr. Robert Howard, whose venerable and beloved 
widow still survives as I write these lines. 

It is necessary, however, to go back a little to resume 
an account of the literary activity of 1848, which was very 
considerable. We have seen that the reviewers complained 
of the want of figures to accompany The Birds of Jamaica. 
In January, 1848, Philip Gosse sent out circulars proposing 
to publish by subscription a folio volume of lithographic 
drawings, coloured by hand, if desired, of one hundred and 
twenty species of Jamaica birds, very largely new to science. 
This work was to be issued in monthly parts. The 
response was so immediately favourable, that in March he 


began to make the drawings on the stone, and he laboured 
away so assiduously, in spite of other work, that the book, 
an exquisite ix>rtfolio of plates, was given to the public, as 
Illustrations of the Birds of Jauiaica, in April, 1849. 
Unhappily, however, the price at which he had under- 
taken to bring out the coloured illustrations was so low 
that there was, through an error in his calculations, a 
slight loss on every copy subscribed for, and if the 
demand for the book in this condition had been great, 
he would have been ni dreadful straits. This was a 
lesson for which he had himself alone to thank, and 
he never made that particular error again. 

In February, 1848, he began his Birds, the second volume 
of the popular series for the S.P.C.K., and being now more 
prosperous, and secure of plenty of tolerably remunerative 
work, he moved from the incommodious little house in 
Richmond Terrace, to a pleasanter dwelling, No. 13, Tra- 
falgar Terrace, De Beauvoir Square. At this time he was 
greatly excited by the news of the Revolution in France, 
and the rapid spread of revolutionary sentiment through 
Europe, with the Chartist demonstration in London on 
April 10. "All this," he writes, "greatly excites our hopes 
of the near Advent ; " and from this time forward, for nearly 
forty years, each political crisis in Europe reawakened in 
his breast this vain hope of the sudden coming of the 
Lord, and the rapture of believing Christendom into glory 
without death. This minute and realistic observer of 
natural objects possessed one facet of his soul on which 
the rosy light of idealism never ceased to sparkle. He 
was a visionary on one side of his brain, though a 
biologist on the other. 

In June, 1848, he suggested to the Society for Pro- 
moting Christian Knowledge that he should write them a 
History of the Jews. They accepted the proposal, but he 


found the task a more difficult one than he had antici- 
pated. It hung around his neck hke a weight, and it 
was not until 1850 that he published what is perhaps the 
most perfunctory of all his longer writings. Three, if not 
four, editions of this work were, however, exhausted. In 
July the Mammalia was issued ; and in September he was 
already beginning, for another firm of publishers, his 
Popular British Ornithology, a work intended as a sort of 
bird-calendar for the instruction of young naturalists, a 
guide for use through the English bird-year. This boolc, 
which is illustrated by a variety of exquisite coloured 
plates, drawn and lithographed by the author, was pecu- 
liarly the labour of his betrothal, since he wrote his first 
page the day before he proposed to Miss Emily Bowes, 
and the last on the night preceding his marriage. In 
designing and colouring the illustrations, he mainly drew 
from the specimens in the British Museum. Even in work 
so modest as this was, he was unwilling to copy the 
observations of others whenever it was in his power to 
give an impression of his own, and he was in the habit 
of remarking that, however hackneyed an animal may 
seem to be, the labour of describing or copying it minutely 
at first hand will reveal some characteristic in it which has 
escaped previous observers. This is, no doubt, far less 
true to-day, when the illustration of natural objects has 
been carried to so great a pitch of perfection, than it was 
fifty years ago, w^hen all but the best illustrations were of a 
very rough character. 

From Tottenham, on November 22, 1848, he brought 
home his bride to the little house in Trafalgar Terrace 
without so much as a single day's honeymoon. He 
immediately took up again the suspended task of The 
History of the Jews, which, however, occupied him for many 
more months. The next year was one of extreme seclu- 


sion. To Philip Gossc, secure of the sympathetic presence 
of his wife, there was now no need of entertainment away 
from home ; but to the new wife the strain of the change 
was not a small one. Emily Bowes had been of an emi- 
nently modern temperament — lively, sociable, talkative, 
accustomed to see moving around her a cloud of female 
friends. She soon found that visitors were not welcome to 
her husband, that fresh faces disturbed his ideas and 
awakened his shyness. His ideal of life was to exist in an 
even temperature of domestic solitude, absorbed in intel- 
lectual work, buried in silence. For hours and hours Mrs. 
Philip had no one to speak to but the servant-maid or her 
formidable mother-in-law. who, possessing no intellectual 
resources herself, looked with suspicion on those who did. 
Emily Gosse's only refuge was in her husband's study, 
which no one but herself might enter, and where she 
would sit for hours and hours, fretted by the unwonted 
restraint, in a silence broken only by the regular whisper 
of the pen on the paper or of the pencil on the stone. 
She possessed great command over her feelings, and she 
was very intelligent and sensible. Before long, she had 
the approach of other cares and busier interests to occupy 
her ; but for the time being the strain was very real, the 
sudden cloistered seclusion from the open world very 
trying and distressing. She fell back upon her studies, 
and began in an elegant Italian hand, in the bright blue 
ink of the period, to annotate an interleaved copy of the 
Hebrew Bible, which still exists to testify to her industry. 
On February i, 1849, the Birds, in the S.P.C.K. series, 
was published ; and on the 9th of that month the author 
began the volume called Reptiles. In this same February' 
the Popular Br it is Jl OrnitJiology was published, and on 
May 9 Philip Gosse began to write his Text-Book of 
Zoology for Schools. The composition of this volume 


not published until 185 I, led to a very important crisis in 
his intellectual career. He had hitherto taken but a super- 
ficial interest in the lower forms of life. In order to write 
the first chapters of his Text-Book, he found himself obliged 
to study what was known of these forms, and the fascina- 
tion of invertebrate, and particularly of microscopic natural 
history, suddenly took hold of him. He determined to 
study these forms at first hand. Early in June he bought 
a microscope, and this purchase revolutionized his whole 
life. He instantly threw himself, with that fiery energy 
which characterized him, into the literature of the subject, 
and particularly into Pritchard's still classical History of 
the Ififiisoria. 

On June 11, 1849, he made his first independent exami- 
nation of a rotifer under the microscope, and the date may 
be worth noting as that of the opening of one of the most 
important of all the branches of his labours. The extreme 
ardour with which he took up subjects sometimes wore 
itself out rather rapidly. He grew tired of birds ; after- 
wards he grew tired of his once-beloved sea-anemones. 
But in the rotifers, the exquisite little wheel-animalcules, 
whose history he did so much to elucidate — in these he 
never lost his zest, and they danced under his microscope 
when he put his faded eye to the tube for the last time in 
1888. A week after June 11, he was already deep in 
observation of Stephanoceros, that strange and beautiful 
creature, whose " small pear-shaped body, with rich green 
and brown hues glowing beneath a glistening surface, is 
lightly perched on a tapering stalk, and crowned with a 
diadem of the daintiest plumes ; while the whole is set in 
a clouded crystal vase of quaint shape and delicate texture." 
He was seized with a determination to collect on a large 
scale. From a wholesale glass factory in Shoreditch he 
bought an army of small clear phials, and rose at three 


a.m. next morning, walking to the Ilampstead Ponds for 
dirty water which might prove to contain .sparks of life, 
leaping, twinkling, and kicking, under the microscope. 

Almost immediately he began to correspond with the 
leaders o{ microscopic science at that time, with John 
Ouekett and with Bowerbank, neither of whom, however, 
had given any special attention to the Rotifera. He pre- 
sently fixed in his garden a set of stagnant open pans or 
reservoirs for infusoria, which, from the prevalence of 
cholera at the time, were looked upon with great suspicion 
by the neighbours. In the midst of all this, and during the • 
very thrilling examination of three separate stagnations of 
hempseed, poppy seed, and hollyhock seed, his wife pre- 
sented him with a child, a helpless and unwelcome appari- •* 
tion, whose arrival is marked in the parental diary in the 
following manner : — " E. delivered of a son. Received • 
green swallow from Jamaica." Two ephemeral vitalities, 
indeed, and yet, strange to say, both exist ! The one 
stands for ever behind a pane of glass in the Natural 
History Museum at South Kensington ; the other, whom 
the green swallow will doubtless survive, is he who now . 
puts together these deciduous pages. 

The absorbing devotion to the microscope, which now 
began- to be the dominant passion of Philip Gosse's life 
was distinctly unfavourable to the prosecution of paying 
work. During the second half of 1849 he produced com- 
paratively little of a marketable character, although at no 
time of his life was he engaged more closely or on labour 
which demanded more intellectual force. But what he 
was doing was noted with full appreciation in the scientific 
world, and he was regarded with greater seriousness than 
ever before. On November 14, upon Bowerbank's pro- 
position, he was elected a member of the Microscopical 
Society, at whose meetings he forthwith became a rec:ular 

224 ^^-^ ^^^^ ^^ PHILIP HENRY GOSSE. 

attendant. This was a much-needed refreshment and 
stimulus in his monotonous life. He was, meanwhile, 
making very rapid progress in his investigation of the 
Rotifera, a class at that time, and for many years after- 
wards, but little understood or studied. In 1849 the one 
published authority on these creatures, the book which — 
as Hudson and Gosse have put it in their great monograph 
— " swallowed up, as it were, the very memory of its pre- 
decessors," was the Die Infusionsthierchen published at 
Leipsic by Ehrenberg, in 1838. Philip Gosse found it 
impossible to proceed without knowing what Ehrenberg 
had said, but unfortunately the Prussian savant wrote only 
in German, a language with which the English naturalist 
was not acquainted. Emily Gosse, however, knew German 
enough, and during the winter of 1849-50 he borrowed 
the precious volume from the council of the Microscopical 
Society, and they turned Ehrenberg into English between 
them, Gosse's feverish anxiety to know what Ehrenberg 
was saying acting on his language-sense, for the moment, 
like a sort of clairvoyance. It was long his intention to 
publish this translation of Ehrenberg, which his wife and 
he soon completed, with illustrative notes and additions of 
his own, but he did not find any opportunity of doing this, 
and the version remains inedited. 

It becomes necessary, however, to write when — 

" A life your arms unfold 
Whose crying is a cry for gold," 

and with the opening of 1850 Philip Gosse so arranged his 
days that the book-making should occupy the mornings, 
and the afternoons and evenings only be given to the 
microscope. The Handbook of Zoology was finished on 
February 4, and the very next day Sacred Streams, a 
volume describing the natural history and the antiquities 


of the rivers mentioned in the Bible, was begun. This 
was completed early in August, and was instantly suc- 
ceeded, without a day's interval, by the volume called 
Fishes, in the S.P.C.K. series. The last three months of 
the year were occupied in the composition of a work far 
more important than all these, A Naturalisfs Sojourn in 
Jamaica, which was a record of his stay in that island, 
mainly printed from the copious manuscript journal which 
he had preserved. Hitherto he had not known what it 
was, since his first success, to have a book rejected ; but 
this, which is certainly in the first rank among his original 
volumes, was returned to him by Mr. John Murray, only 
to be accepted, to their ultimate advantage, by Messrs. 

The second year of married life was much more com- 
fortable than the first had been. Mrs. Gosse was occupied 
by the care of her child, and her husband was neither 
so self-contained nor so isolated from outer sympathies 
as he had been. In 1850 he was elected an Associate 
of the Linnaean Society, and he greatly enjoyed the 
meetings of this, as of the Microscopical Society. He 
was taken out of himself by being more and more sought 
as an authority on zoological matters, and the life of 
eremitical seclusion which he had chosen to adopt was 
broken in upon by a variety of human interests. The 
circumstances of the pair, moreover, were considerably less 
straitened. His books were not ill paid for, and they 
had become so numerous that the little sums mounted up. 
In July, moreover, Mr. and Mrs. Gosse were called down to 
Leamington to the death-bed of an aunt, who left them a 
legacy. This was trifling in amount, but the interest of 
it Vv^as enough to form a pleasant increase to an income 
so small as theirs had been. The pinch of poverty was 
now relaxed, for the first time in Philip Gossc's life, 



although industry and thrift were still necessary to insure 
anything like comfort. 

A labour which belongs to the year 1850, and which 
must not be left unrecorded in the chronicle of his career, 
was his investigations into the genus of Rotifera called by 
Ehrenberg Notommata. The German savant had left 
Notommata in an unwieldy and heterogenous condition ; 
Philip Gosse now directed his particular attention to it, 
and in a succession of papers, read before his two societies, 
he reduced it to well-defined proportions. These, and 
his monograph, in the Aimals and Magazine of Natural 
History, on the new genus Asplanchna, which he dis- 
covered in 1850 in the Serpentine, attracted a great deal 
of attention from specialists, and opened up a long series 
of similar contributions to exact knowledge. During the 
latter part of the autumn he was once again in daily 
attendance at the Natural History Departments of the 
British Museum. On October 10 he was fortunate enough 
to be leaving the central hall at the very moment when 
the winged bull from Nineveh was being brought in. 
Thirty years later my father met, for the first time, with 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's striking poem, The Burden of 
NineveJi, recording the same experience : — 

" Sighing, I turned at last to win 
Once more the London dirt and din ; 
And as I made the swing-door spin 
And issued, they were hoisting in 

A winged beast from Nineveh." 

It was interesting, and it greatly interested Philip Gosse 
to think, that in the little crowd that watched the bull-god 
enter his last temple, he had unconsciously stood shoulder 
to shoulder with the brilliant young poet, those two, 
perhaps alone among the spectators, sharing the acute 
sense of mystery and wonder at the apparition. 


In November much reading of Jamaica notes caused a 
revival of intense desire to revisit the West Indies, resulting 
rather suddenly in a positive design to visit the Virgin 
Islands and Tortugas. But once more the scheme came to 
nothing, Mrs. Gosse's health precluding the possibility of 
her sharing so painful a romantic enterprise. Philip Gosse 
was one of those people who find it exceedingly difficult to 
speak of what lies closest to their hearts, and he sometimes 
preferred to convey his intentions in writing, even to those 
who were around him. I find a letter addressed on this 
occasion by my father to my mother, announcing to her 
his final determination not to start for the West Indies ; 
this letter being, apparently, handed to her in the house. 
In it he begs her not to refer to the subject in conversation, 
nor to make the slightest effort to change his plans. The 
letter is worded in terms of the most devoted affection, and 
that he wrote it at all is a proof of the almost impassioned 
lons^ing: which had seized him to revisit those luminous 
archipelagos. If Mrs. Gosse had been strong enough to 
bear the journey, she could not have left her mother, who 
was dying, and who passed away on January 14, 1851. 
Mr. Bowes had preceded his wife by six months ; he died, 
in his eightieth year, on June 10, 1850. 

The year 1851 was notable for the publication of no 
fewer than four of Philip Gosse's works. In the month of 
March his Text-Book of Zoology for Schools and his 
Sacred Streams, the Ancient and Modern History of the 
Rivers of the Bible, were issued. In February he began 
Fishes, the fourth volume of his series of manuals of 
zoology for the S.P.C.K., and this was published in 
October of the same year. Moreover, on October 17, 
appeared A Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica, a production 
of far greater importance than any of these, a handsome 
volume adorned with lithographic plates designed and 


coloured by the author. In the preface to this work, Philip 
Gosse took up a position which was new to the world of 
zoologists. " Natural history," he boldly declared, " is far 
too much a science of dead things ; a necrology. It is 
mainly conversant with dry skins, furred or feathered, 
blackened, shrivelled, and hay-stuffed ; with objects, some 
admirably beautiful, some hideously ugly, impaled on pins, 
and arranged in rows in cork drawers ; with uncouth forms, 
disgusting to sight and smell, bleached and shrunken, 
suspended by threads and immersed in spirit (in defiance 
of the aphorism, that ' he who is born to be hanged will 
never be drowned') in glass bottles. These distorted 
things are described ; their scales, plates, feathers counted ; 
their forms copied, all shrivelled and stiffened as they 
are ; . . . their limbs, members, and organs measured, and 
the results recorded in thousandths of an inch ; two names 
are criven to every one ; the whole is enveloped in a 
mystic cloud of Gr^eco-Latino-English phraseology (often 
barbaric enough) ; and this is natural history ! " 

The tradition thus scornfully condemned was that which 
it was the writer's peculiar function to break through. 
And he was not, like so many reformers, ready to tear 
down without having any fresh materials or the design for 
a new edifice. This is how, in the elegant preface to the 
Naturalists Sojmr?i, he describes the science of zoology as 
he fain would see it conducted : — 

"That alone is worthy to be called natural history 
" which investigates and records the condition of living 
"things, of things in a state of nature; if animals, of 
''livmg animals: — which tells of their 'sayings and 
" doings,' their varied notes and utterances, songs and 
" cries ; their actions in ease, and under the pressure of 
" circumstances ; their affections and passions towards 
" their young, towards each other, towards other animals, 


"towards man ; their various arts and devices to protect 
"their progeny, to procure food, to escape from their 
" enemies, to defend themselves from attacks ; their 
"ingenious resources for concealment; their stratagems 
"to overcome their victims; their modes of bringing 
" forth, of feeding, and of training their offspring ; the 
"relations of their structure to their wants and habits ; 
"the countries in which they dwell; their connection 
"with the inanimate world around them, mountain or 
" plain, forest or field, barren heath or bushy dell, open 
" savannah or wild hidden glen, river, lake or sea : — this 
"would be indeed zoology, viz. the science of living 
" creatures." 

At the time when these words were written many of 
the animals of Europe, and, in the persons of Wilson and 
Philip Gosse himself, the birds of America, had found 
biographers, but little indeed was known of the mass of 
species distributed throughout the rest of the world, and 
of the lower orders of life, in their living state, practically 
nothing. It was Gosse's privilege to inaugurate this 
species of observation, and to live to see the actual study 
of living forms take its place as one of the most important 
branches of scientific investigation. The public was 
instantly attracted by the freshness of this new manner 
of writing. The books Philip Gosse had been composing 
for the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge had, 
in accordance with a strange whimsey that long prevailed 
with the council of that Society, been sent to none of the 
reviews. Their sale, accordingly, though it had been con- 
siderable, had not been aided or gauged by the publicity 
of the journals. A Naturalisfs Sojourn in Jamaica, of 
course, was sent to the newspapers by Messrs. Longmans, 
and it received a welcome from the press which was some- 
thing quite new in Philip Gosse's experience. One of the 


best notices was written, as the author had reason to 
believe, by the distinguished ornithologist, Dr. Stanley, 
Bishop of Norwich, who sang the praises of the book 
wherever he went. 

In all quarters the freshness of the new mode of obser- 
vation met with instant appreciation, nor were zoologists 
less forward than the general reader in commending the 
novelty of attitude. Charles Darwin and Richard Owen 
were among those who expressed their approval of this 
bright, fresh, and electrical mode of throwing the window 
of the dissecting-closet wide open to the light and air of 
heaven. The latter wrote (November 29, 185 1) : "Mr. 
Gosse is a very true observer and a very beautiful de- 
scriber of what he sees. His book, all about things I am 
so very fond of — birds and fishes, crocodiles and lizards, 
butterflies and crabs, both in and out of shells, to say 
nothing of sea and sunshine — has made me quite long for 
a holiday in Jamaica." About the samxC time Philip Gosse 
formed the acquaintance of the amiable and charming 
James Scott Bowerbank, who was then already at work 
upon his great monograph on the sponges. He occasion- 
ally attended those delightful gatherings which the hos- 
pitality of Bowerbank collected around him, and the two 
naturalists corresponded closely for several years. Philip 
Gosse was not perturbed by the fame thus suddenly thrust 
upon him, and he resisted the kind attempts which were 
made to " lionize " him. He was pleased at his success, 
and grateful to those who assured it to him ; but he re- 
mained at home. Save that he was elected to the council 
of the Microscopical Society, and served in this capacity, 
he scarcely made the smallest change in the even tenor 
of his existence. 

In the summer his views regarding the Rotifer a received 
momentary modification, and his interest in these animal- 


cules was increased, by his meetin^r with Dujardin's 
ingenious work on the Systolidcs, as the French savant 
called the rotifers. Gosse studied Dujardin with great 
care, and was at first inclined to lay much stress on his 
criticisms of Ehrcnbcrg, but this view ultimately gave way 
to a confirmation of his faith in the solidity and value of 
the observations of the Prussian naturalist. In this year, 
185 1, Philip Gosse published in the "Annals of Natural 
History" his Catalogue of Rotifer a found in Britain, a list 
which extended far beyond any previous catalogue of the 
kind, but yet looks meagre enough now in comparison with 
the results of later investigations. By the side of these 
apparently conflicting labours he was engaged, throughout 
the year 185 1, on another and very distinct work. Since 
the occasion when he had watched the winged bull of 
Nineveh being brought into the British Museum, his 
imagination had constantly been occupied in trying to 
rebuild that mysterious and sinister Eastern civilization, 
the character of which it is scarcely too much to say had 
then recently been discovered by the excavations of Botta 
and Layard at Nimroud. The splendid folios published, 
in Paris and London respectively, by these intrepid archae- 
ologists, had excited, in conjunction with the discoveries of 
Rawlinson, interest throughout Europe. To allay his own 
curiosity, and with no idea of competing with these 
masters of the field, Philip Gosse prepared at odd moments 
throughout -185 1 what proved at last a bulky volume on 
Assyria ; her Manners and Customs, Arts and Arms, which 
the S.P.C.K. published early in 1852. 

With the close of 185 1 we reach another critical point in 
the career of the subject of this memoir, and we may 
review for a moment the results of these five years of 
incessant labour. Since Philip Gosse had returned from 
Jamaica in the autumn of 1846, he had completed thirteen 


distinct works, a row of volumes enough in themselves to 
form the whole baggage of many a literary traveller. Of 
these, four had been compilations of an historical and 
archaeological cast, undertaken solely on account of their 
semi-religious subject. Six others were handbooks of 
zoological information — " pot-boilers," as they might be 
called in the slang to-day — but all of them conscientiously, 
minutely, and eloquently written, and brought up in every 
case to the momentary limit of the ever-advancing tide of 
the scientific knowledge of the age. There remain the 
three Jamaica volumes, and if these alone had been 
published during these five years, it may be that their 
author's fame would have been quite as flourishing as it 
was. These were genuine contributions, not only to 
zoological knowledge, but to the new methods of natural 
history, the methods which their author now so openly 
defended. Then, of a less public character, there were 
those technical monographs read at the Proceedings of the 
Royal, and printed by the Linnsean and Microscopical 
Societies, in which the new naturalist showed himself just 
as competent and as accurate in measuring, defining, and 
copying cabinet specimens as had been any of the old 
closet savants whose exclusiveness he deprecated. On 
all sides, the author of so many and so incongruous 
writings, he had widened the field of his experience, and 
he was now rapidly advancing along the pathway to dis- 
tinction. A sudden event changed the entire current of 
his being. 

The life he had led for these last five years had been 
cloistered and uniform in the extreme. Nothing could ex- 
ceed the monotony of his daily existence. As he became 
better known, social opportunities had not been lacking ; 
invitations had reached him which, had they been accepted, 
might have led to others. But he accepted none of them. 


PIc was shy, he was poor, he grudged the time which such 
visits would consume ; but above all these considerations 
there was the inherent dislike, constantly on the increase, 
of being compelled to adopt the artificial manner of general 
conversation. During these five years his social exercises 
were strictly limited to occasional visits, mainly in the 
daytime, to a few scientific friends, such as Edward Double- 
day and Adam White, and to such a limited circle of 
religious companions as straitly shared his own peculiar 
convictions. He stayed at home at his study-table, writing, 
drawing, or observing, every week-day, and on Sunday he 
took no rest from his labours, for he usually preached one, 
if not two, extempore sermons. The monotony of this 
round of life was perhaps even more deleterious than its 
severity. He gave himself no holidays of any description. 
With the exception of a few days in the summer of 1850, 
spent at Leamington in attendance upon the death-bed and 
the funeral of a relative of Mrs. Gosse's, he was not out of 
the neighbourhood of London, even for one day, from 
August, 1846, until December, 185 1. His most adven- 
turous excursions had extended no further than Kew 
Gardens, Hampstead Heath, and the Isle of Dogs. 

Such a strain could not be kept up indefinitely ; the 
wonder was that his constitution sustained it so long. In 
November he began to be the victim to persistent head- 
ache, and early in December, after starting to go to the 
British Museum one morning, he became violently ill, 
and returned home in a state of great depression and 
alarm. His brain seemed to have suddenly collapsed, and 
he supposed, himself to be paralyzed ; but the doctors pro- 
nounced the symptoms to be those of acute nervous 
dyspepsia. They attributed the illness mainly to his seden- 
tary existence, and they insisted that he should leave town 
at once, and be much in the open air. He himself wrote : 


" Sitting by the parlour fire, doing nothing, is dreary work ; 
and it is not much mended by traversing the gravel walks 
of the garden in my great-coat. There is nothing par- 
ticularly refreshing in the sight of frost-bitten creepers and 
chrysanthemums. To walk about the streets in the 
suburbs, or even in the City, is dreary too, when there is 
no object in view, nothing to do, in fact, but spend the 
time. But, after all, the dreariness is in myself: I am 
thoroughly unwell, overworked, and everybody says there 
must be rustication." On December 15 his wife and he 
started for five days' ramble in the Isle of Wight, hoping 
that this modest excursion would meet the requirements 
of the case. But the symptoms of congestion of the brain 
returned. It was impossible for the patient to read or 
write, and to put his eye to the microscope was agony. 
The last day of the year 185 1 saw the whole family in bed, 
each distressingly ill in his or her way. Old Mrs. Gosse had 
before this gone into separate lodgings of her own. It 
was determined that the establishment at Hackney should 
be broken up, and that the invalids should go southward 
and seaward. On January 27, 1852, they started for 
South Devon. 

( 235 




AT the present time, when the principle of the marine 
aquarium has become a commonplace, it is difficult 
to realize that forty years ago it had occurred to no one 
that it might be possible to preserve marine animals and 
plants in a living state under artificial conditions. In 
1850, when Philip Gosse was first engaged in the study of 
the Rotifera, he had noticed that by allowing aquatic weeds, 
such as vallisneria and viyriopJiyllum, to grow in the glass 
vases of fresh water in which he kept his captures, both 
Infusoria and Rotifera would live in captivity, and even 
breed and multiply. This observation was the first germ 
of the invention of the marine aquarium, and towards the 
close of 185 1 it occurred to him to apply this principle — 
the supply of oxygen from living plants under the stimulus 
of light — to the preservation of animals in sea-water. He 
reflected that if seaweeds, algcn, in the more delicate 
varieties, could be induced to live in vases of sea-water, 
they might assimilate carbon and give out oxygen in such 
proportions as to keep the water pure and fit for the support 
of animal life. This proved in due time to be the case. To 
carry out the scheme was a matter of experiment, but the 
idea was already ripe before the Gosses — " wife, self and 
little naturalist in petticoats " — proceeded to Devonshire. 


His choice of that particular county was made partly 
because of its warmth in winter, partly because of its geo- 
graphical position at the gates of the populous Atlantic, 
but also for a reason which would have occurred only to 
a practical naturalist. The researches of a littoral zoolo- 
gist are carried on with most success at spring tides. In 
many parts of the English coast the lowest water occurs 
at about six o'clock in the morning or evening, a time 
inconvenient in many ways, and particularly to an invalid. 
In Devonshire, on the days of new and full moon, the 
lowest tide is near the middle of the day. After great 
hesitation as to a point at which to begin, Torquay was 
finally chosen, although the doctors considered it too re- 
laxing for a nervous disorder. On January 29, 1852, the 
family arrived there, and immediately proceeded to the 
village of St. Marychurch, about a mile and a half to 
north, an ancient but not picturesque assemblage of white- 
washed cottages and small shops, close to the sea-cliff, but 
out of sight of the sea. This place had the advantage of 
a considerable altitude above Torquay, which slumbered 
among its groves of arbutus, by the side of its land-locked 
azure bay, as in a warm bath, and had alarmed its feeble 
visitors by the relaxing quality of its atmosphere. St. 
Marychurch lay open to the east, on a level with the tops 
of the cliffs, and enjoyed, on clear days, a refreshing view 
of the purple tors of Dartmoor away in the west. It was 
little in Philip Gosse's mind, when he first stepped up 
the reddish-white street of St. Marychurch, that in this 
village he would eventually spend more than thirty years 
of his life, and would close it there. For the present his 
stay was transitory. They took lodgings at Bank Cottage, 
a little detached villa in the main street. 

After the long imprisonment within the gloom of 
London, Philip Gosse's eyes were acutely sensitive to the 


pleasure of country sights. The coast of South Devon is 
pccuh'arly brilliant in colour ; the weather happened to be 
superb, and the unexpected beauty of every object on 
which the sun lighted was almost intoxicating. His 
journal is full of rapturous ejaculations of delight. On 
the very first afternoon he went down through the em- 
bowered hamlet of Babbicombe " to see what promise the 
beach might afford." That beach is now familiarized and 
vulgarized ; carriage-roads wind down to it, where break- 
neck paths used to descend ; it is all given up, with but 
small trace of its ancient wildness, to the comfort of 
nursemaids and trippers. But in those days no bathing- 
machines had invaded its savage coves and creeks. De- 
scending at Babbicombe, and climbing along the beautiful 
arc of alternate rock and shingle to the further extremity 
of the beach at Oddicombe, he discovered on that first 
afternoon a feature of extraordinary charm, a natural 
basin in the face of the rock, a veritable little bath where 
one might conceive the Nereids indolently collecting to 
gossip at high noon as they plashed the water with their 
feet :— 

*' Climbing and crawling around the face of the rough 
*' cliff," he writes, " I found a delightful little reservoir, 
" nearly circular, a basin about three feet wide and 
"the same deep, full of pure sea-water, quite still, 
" and as clear as crystal. From the rocky margin and 
*' sides, the puckered fronds of the sweet oar-weed 
** {Laniinaria saccJiarind) sprang out, and gently droop- 
'* ing, like ferns upon a wall, nearly met in the centre ; 
" while other more delicate seaweeds grew beneath their 
" shadow. Several sea-anemones of a kind very different 
" from the common species, more flat and blossom-like, 
•'with slenderer tentacles set round like a fringe, were 
" scattered about the sides." 


This tidal basin became one of the most constant of his 
haunts, and he nourished a jealous and almost whimsical 
affection for it, suffering from a constant fear that its 
crystal beauty might be profaned. Every day the high 
tide renewed its freshness, and then, retreating, left the 
basin to settle into glassy calm. " Procul, o procul este ! " 
my father used to murmur, affecting the airs of a lapwing 
when idle men or lads approached the scenes of his 
devotion. Strangely enough, this exquisite little freak of 
nature survived, untouched, for nearly twenty years after 
its discovery. At last, one day when my father climbed 
up to look into it, behold ! some thrice-wretched vandal 
had chiselled a channel on the seaward side, not very 
deep indeed, but enough to destroy its unique regularity 
of form. He never went to it again. 

Early in February he began to feel a marked improve- 
ment in health. He bought a hammer and chisel, and 
spent many hours every day in chipping off fragments of 
rock bearing fine seaweeds and delicate animal forms. 
These he preserved in vases and open pans, and thus 
began to carry out his dream of a marine vivarium. He 
found the under surfaces of the pebbles on Babbicombe 
beach singularly rich in those fantastic and gem-like 
creatures, the nudibranch moUusca, of which he set about 
forming a considerable collection, in correspondence with 
Alder and Hancock, the historians of those graceful sea- 
slugs. With the very first dawn of convalescence, he 
returned to his literary work. He started in March a fifth 
volume of the series of handbooks for the S.P.C.K., this 
time on the Molhcsca ; and before this he began to put his 
daily observations into the shape which finally assumed 
the dimensions of A Naturalisfs Rambles on the Devonshire 

It was singular that on wholly untrodden ground, and 


without previous experience, he immediately fell into 
the ways of a collector of marine objects, discovering 
almost by intuition what species were and what were not 
suited for artificial preservation, and how the sensitive 
varieties of plants and fixed animals were to be transported 
without injury. Nevertheless he was not entirely satisfied 
with St. Marychurch as a centre ; it suited him zoologi- 
cally, but not medically. His headaches returned, and the 
soft luscious air seemed to leave him constantly weaker. 
In March he tried Brixham, on the south side of the bay ; 
but this was warmer still, and not so favourable for collect- 
ing. At the end of April he determined to try the northern 
coast of the county. The prevalence of a heavy surf upon 
the shore below St. Marychurch, in consequence of an 
undeviating wind from the east, had prevented him from 
being as successful as he had hoped to be. Still he had 
gained great experience, and had added many new species 
to the English fauna. Among the sea-anemones, in par- 
ticular, which had hitherto been greatly neglected, he had 
already secured several novelties. Two beautiful species, 
now widely known to zoologists, 7'osea and nivea, Philip 
Gosse had the good fortune to discover on the same day, 
April 20, the one on the south, the other on the north side 
of the limestone headland called Petit Tor. These were 
his latest trophies there, for in the course of the following 
week the family transferred themselves to Ilfracombe, on 
the Bristol Channel, then already a summer resort of some 
local repute. 

The change was instantly beneficial. The air of North 
Devon proved much more exhilarating, and the rock-pools 
even richer than those of the Oddicombe district. He 
found the angular basins in the slaty coast densely fringed 
with seaweeds, under whose lucent curtains lurked an 
immense and luxuriant variety of zoophytes of every 


description. In the Devonshire Coast he has given an 
eloquent account of his successive discoveries, and of the 
ardour with which he threw himself into the work of 
exploration. The beautiful Devonshire cup-coral {Caryo- 
phyllia Smithii) had long been known as a skeleton in the 
drawers of museums ; he was fortunate enough to find it 
in profusion, throwing upwards its globose white tentacles, 
and covering with its fawn-coloured flesh the granular plates 
of its coral structure. In September he made a discovery 
of extraordinary interest, and in a manner so characteristic 
that I give his own account of the incident : — 

" It was a spring tide, and the water had receded 
" lower than I had seen it since I had been at the place. 
" I was searching among the extremely rugged rocks 
"that run out from the tunnels, forming walls and 
"pinnacles of dangerous abruptness, with deep, almost 
" inaccessible cavities between. Into one of these, at 
"the very verge of the water, I managed to scramble 
" down ; and found, round a corner, a sort of oblong 
"basin, about ten feet long, in which the water remained, 
"a tide-pool of three feet depth in the middle. The 
"whole concavity of the interior was so smooth that I 
"could find no resting-place for my foot in order to 
" examine it ; though the sides, all covered with the 
" pink lichen-like coralline, and bristling with laminariae 
" and zoophytes, looked so tempting that I walked round 
"and round, reluctant to leave it. At last I fairly 
** stripped, though it was blowing very cold, and jumped 
" in. I had examined a good many things, of which the 
" only novelty was the pretty narrow fronds of Fliistra 
'' chartacea in some abundance, and was just about to 
" come out, when my eye rested on what I at once saw 
" to be a madrepore, but of an unusual colour, a most 
" refulgent orange." 


It proved to be Balaiwphyllia, a fossil coral, the exist- 
ence of which, with an actinia-like body of richly coloured 
living flesh, had never been suspected. 

This episode may be taken as an example, not merely 
of the discoveries in science which Philip Gosse was now 
constantly making, but of his manner of life. He w^as 
accustomed every day at low tide, if the hour was at all 
convenient, to go down to the shore, and for several hours 
before and after the lowest moment to examine the weedy 
rocks, the loose flat stones under which molluscs and crus- 
taceans lurked, the shallow tidal pools, and the dripping 
walls of the small fissures and caverns. It was extra- 
ordinary how wide a range of animal life was included 
within the tidal limits. After some hours of severe labour, 
he would tramp home with his treasures, arrange them in 
dishes and vases with fresh sea-water, and then proceed 
to a scientific examination of what was unique or novel. 
The notes taken in this way, with the lens in one hand 
and the pen in the other, were transferred bodily to the 
pages of A Natiiralisfs Ramble on the Devonshire Ccast^ 
which was rapidly taking form. He was particularly 
ardent in his study of the sea-anemones, a group which 
he was presently to take under his special patronage. He 
had no thought as yet of the generic distinctions which 
he was to introduce later, and throughout 1852, and for 
some years to come, what were afterwards distinguished 
as Sagartia, Bnnodes^ and the rest, were classed in one 
vague genus, Actinia. The examination of the sea-anemone 
was pushed, this summer, to the length of a gastronomical 
test. A few specimens of the gross strawberry species, 
crassicornis, were boiled and eaten. His account of this 
courageous experiment runs as follows : — 

" I must confess that the first bit I essayed caused a 
"sort of lumpy feeling in my throat, as if a sentinel there 



" guarded the way, and said, * It shan't come here.' This 
"sensation, however, I felt to be unworthy of a philo- 
"sopher, for there was nothing really repugnant in the 
"taste. As soon as I had got one that seemed well 
" cooked, I invited Mrs. Gosse to share the feast ; she 
" courageously attacked the morsel, but I am compelled 
" to confess that it could not pass the vestibule ; the 
"sentinel was too many for her. My little boy, however, 
" voted that "tinny [actiJim] was good,' and that he 'liked 
""tinny;' and loudly demanded more, like another Oliver 
"Twist. As for me, I proved the truth of the adage, 
" ' II n'y a que le premier pas qui coute ;' for my sentinel 
" was cowed after the first defeat. I left little in the dish. 
" In truth, the flavour and taste are agreeable, somewhat 
" like those of the soft parts of crab (May 21, 1852)." 
In July Philip Gosse made an interesting excursion of 
a week's duration to Lundy Island. The description he 
presently wrote of this curious and remote fragment of 
the British empire appeared in serial form in the peri- 
odical called T/ie Home Friend, and was long afterwards 
reprinted in Sea and Land (1865). For the Society for 
Promoting Christian Knowledge he wrote this time, in 
conjunction with his wife, a little anonymous volume 
called Seaside Pleasures, consisting, in reality, of four 
essays on Ilfracombe, Capstone Hill, Barricane, and the 
Valley of Rocks, describing in a graceful manner the 
antiquities and scientific attractions of the neighbourhood. 
Of these essays the fourth was wholly written by Emily 
Gosse. Meanwhile, with her constant help, he was pre- 
paring the Devonshire Coast, and, in spite of all the exer- 
cise in the open air, the ozone from the seaweeds, and 
the exquisite freshness of the oceanic winds, both husband 
and wife were overtaxing their nervous strength. In 
August both of them were ill with headache, and able to 


do little or nothinf^. He was soon well again, writing mono- 
graphs for the Microscopical Society, corresponding about 
his captures with Johnston, Alder, Bowerbank, and Edward 
Forbes, drawing from specimens under the microscope, 
and recording his discoveries in exact form. At last, in 
November, the weather grew too cold for collecting on 
the shore in comfort, and the health of neither husband 
nor wife was what it should be. They determined to go 
back to London for the winter, and, after an absence of 
nearly ten months in Devonshire, they took lodgings at 
16, Hampton Terrace, Camden Town. 

One reason for coming back to London was the desire 
to carry on a stage further the invention of marine vivaria, 
which had been occupying the mind of Philip Gosse all 
through the year. On May 3, after some slighter experi- 
ments, he had put about three pints of sea-water, with 
some marine plants and animals, into a confectioner's 
show-glass, which was about ten inches deep by five and 
a half inches wide. This was the first serious attempt 
made to create a marine aquarium. Without changing 
the water other\\'ise than by adding a little to supply loss 
from evaporation, this vase was kept fresh, and its contents 
healthy, for more than two months ; when the experiment 
came to a close, in consequence of lack of experience. 
The principle, hov\'ever, upon which the preservation of 
marine animals in captivity could be maintained was now 
discovered, and it was merely a question how to bring it 
to perfection in practice. Curiously enough, another 
naturalist, I\Ir. Robert Warington, of Apothecaries' Hall, 
had, quite independently, been occupied with a similar 
series of experiments. In October, 1852, my father heard 
of this, and immediately corresponded with Mr. Warington. 
This gentleman, it then appeared, had carried the vivarium 
to a greater pitch of elaboration, but had as yet only 

244 ^-^-^ L^F^ O^ PHILIP HENRY GOSSE. 

applied himself to the preservation of fresh-water animals 
by means of the exhalation of oxygen by living water- 
plants. Philip Gosse at once supplied him with particulars 
of his own experiments with marine forms, and when he 
returned to London in November, he brought Mr. War- 
ington a small collection of living seaweeds and animals 
which were successfully ensconced in one of that gentle- 
man's vivaria. There was no sort of rivalry between these 
earnest and amiable investigators, but a little later on, 
when the aquarium had become a fashionable thing, Philip 
Gosse was accustomed to say that if it was needful to 
dispute about an invention which was virtually simul- 
taneous, it might be said that Warington had invented 
the vivarium and he the marine aquarium. 

Little time was lost in making a practical use of the 
experience of the summer. Early in December, with the 
active co-operation of the secretary, I\Ir. D. W. Mitchell, 
a large glass tank was set up in the Zoological Gardens, 
in Regent's Park, and stocked by Philip Gosse with about 
two hundred specimens of marine animals and plants 
brought up from Ilfracombe two months before, and still 
in a perfectly healthy condition. The Zoological Society 
soon found that this tank, in the new Fish House then 
just erected, was exceedingly popular, and they determined 
to make the newly invented aquarium a feature of the 
Gardens. They projected a series of seven tanks, and in 
order to fill them they made a proposition that Gosse 
should go down again to the seaside for the sole purpose 
of collecting specimens. This suited him very well. He 
found that it was absolutely needful for his health that 
he should not work much indoors, but be out in the fresh 
air for a great part of each day, and he agreed that so 
soon as the spring began he should go down to the coast 
of Dorsetshire. 


By the last days of 1852 A Natiiralisfs Ramble on the 
Devonshire Coast was finished. He was determined that, 
now that the public had begun to demand his literary 
work, he would get the profit of it himself. lie there- 
fore arranged to be his own publisher, and the book 
was accordingly set up for him by a firm of printers 
in Bath. It was eventually sold, on commission, by Mr. 
Van Voorst, whose name appeared on the titlepage. The 
volume was expensive to produce, for it contained a large 
number of coloured plates ; the subject, the marine zoology 
of an English county, treated in a desultory style, with a 
mixture of antiquities, gossip, sentiment, and poetry, was 
one entirely novel, the success of which might well be 
dubious. My father, however, was willing to try the ex- 
periment, and he was amply justified. In these days, 
when the business details of literature attract so much 
popular curiosity, it may perhaps be of some interest to 
mention that the net profits of TJie Devonshire Coast ex- 
ceeded £7^0, no poor sum in those days for one small 
volume to bring to the pocket of its author. The book 
was published in May, 1853. 

In February of that year Philip Gosse was asked to 
lecture. He had never attempted such a thing, but he 
said he would willingly make a few remarks about sponges, 
the siliceous skeletons of which he was studying at that 
moment in correspondence with Bowerbank. He accom- 
panied the lecture with some large drawings in chalk on 
the blackboard, and the success of the experiment, which 
was novel at that time, was such, that he adopted lecturing 
as a branch of his professional labours, and became a very 
popular lecturer during the next four or five years. On 
April 8 the family once more left London, and settled in 
lodgings at Weym.outh, in Dorsetshire. Here they con- 
tinued to reside until December of the same year, when, 


as before, bad weather and exhaustion drove them back 
to London. These were eight months of intense and con- 
centrated activity out of doors, during which comparatively 
Httle purely literary work was done. The mode in which 
these months were spent is fully described in that chatty 
and delightful record, The Aquarium. It was much less 
desultory and amateurish than the way in which the pre- 
vious year, in Devonshire, had been occupied. Philip 
Gosse now clearly understood what objects he wished to 
secure, and the way to secure them. Almost every evening 
he sent off to the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park a 
package of living creatures, the " bag " of the day, and 
sometimes this would mean seventy or eighty specimens. 
His first care was to secure seaweeds, carefully selecting 
those which were in full health, and, by preference, the 
finer and cleaner varieties, firmly affixed to rocks. He 
became an adept in chipping off just as much of the rocky 
support as the roots required, and no more. To these he 
would add such specimens of the littoral fauna, annelids, 
sea-anemones, shells, nudibranchs, and crustaceans, as he 
found, by experience, had the best chance of surviving 
the journey, and these he packed, as a rule, not in water, 
but swathed in wrappings of wet seaweed. 

His principal exercise, however, at Weymouth, was 
dredging in the bay. He declared that Ovid knew more 
about the arts of dredging than any later naturalist, and 
used to point, by way of proof, to a passage in the 
Halieuticon^ which he took the liberty of paraphrasing 
thus : — 

" When you the dredge would use, go not away 
Far out to sea. Mind that your haul be made 
According to your bottom. Where the ground 
Is foul and ledgy, be content to fish 
With hook and line. But when upon the sea 


The morning sun casts shadows deep and long 
From lofty Whitenose, — over with your dredge ; 
When 'neath your keel the verdant sea-grass waves, 
The keer-drag try for nudibranchs and wrasse." 

The man with whom he habitually sailed was a fisher- 
man of the name of Jonas Fowler, who was glad to be 
hired day after day, and who took a pride in association 
with the naturalist. " Me and ]\Ir. Gosse " were a pair 
of knowing ones, in the eyes of Jonas, whose portrait has 
been painted thus by his companion : — 

'^ There is nobody else in Weymouth Harbour that 
"knows anything about dredging (I have it from his 
" own lips, so you may rely on it) ; but he is familiar 
" with the feel of almost every yard of bottom from 
"Whitenose to Church Hope, and from Saint Aldhelm's 
" Head to the Bill. He follows dredging with all the 
"zest of a savant; and it really does one's heart good 
"to hear how he pours you out the crack-jaw, the 
"sesquipedalian nomenclature. 'Now^, sir, if you do 
"'want a gastrochcena, I can just put down your dredge 
" ' upon a lot o' 'em ; we'll bring up three or four on a 
"'stone.' ' I'm in hopes we shall have a good cribella or 
" ' two off this bank, if we don't get choked up with them 
" * 'ere ophiocomas' He tells me in confidence that he has 
" been sore puzzled to find a name for his boat, but 
" he has at length determined to appellate her ' The 
" Ttirritellal- — 'just to astonish the fishermen, you know, 
"'sir,' — with an accompanying wink and chuckle, and a 
"patronizing nudge in my ribs." 

Every haul of the dredge was an excitement and a 
delight. Its results were widely different, according to 
the nature of the bottom. Rough stones, sand, shells, 
even broken bottles, would form the base of the matter 
dragged up — no fragment of all this to be lightly thrown 


away without examination, since it might contain star- 
fishes, urchins, the tubes of serpidce, delicate nudibranchs 
and ascidians, and many other attractive captives for the 
aquarium. The univalve shells might be inhabited by 
soldier-crabs, with their charming guardian, the crimson 
Adarnsia, or cloak-anemone. Skipping among the stones 
might be tiny fishes and pretty painted shrimps and 
prawns of various genera ; the long arms of spider-crabs 
might wave mysteriously above the mass ; sometimes the 
most gorgeous of the denizens of the British seas, the 
sea-mouse, with its refulgent silk, would glimmer, like a 
fragment of a fallen rainbow, through the mud. The keer- 
drag on the sand would bring ground-fishes, weavers, soles, 
and rays, rare sea-anemones, and the hump-backed ^sop 
prawns, with their lovely clouded tones of green and 
scarlet. The great advantage of dredging, for Philip 
Gosse's purpose, was, not merely that it supplied him with 
forms not attainable along the shore, but that it produced 
the maximum of results, in the way of number of speci- 
mens, with the minimum of labour. 

His keen enjoyment of this healthy and invigorating 
existence was suddenly interfered with in the month of 
July by a deplorable misunderstanding with the Zoological 
Society. He had succeeded in obtaining specimens in 
much greater numbers than were necessary for Regent's 
Park, and he was now sending them also to the Crystal 
Palace and to other proprietors of aquaria in the neigh- 
bourhood of London. In doing this he broke no pledge, 
written or spoken. On the contrary, he was acting strictly 
in accordance with the principles which he had always 
maintained. When, in the Annals of Natural History for 
October, 1852, he had first mooted the question of marine 
vivaria, he had suggested that " such collections should be 
formed in London and other inland cities," and this desire 


was repeated, with enlarged details, in the Devonshire 
Coast. When he submitted his plan to the Zoological 
Society, in November of the same year, and offered to 
supply living specimens at a fixed rate, not the least 
stipulation that he should limit his supplies to that 
society was made or hinted at. Indeed, so far was any 
such thing from his intention, that he mentioned his plan 
for bringing out a parlour aquarium for sale. He was not 
the salaried servant of the Zoological Society, and its 
council had no more right to forbid him to sell specimens 
elsewhere than to prohibit the tradesman who glazed their 
tanks from selling glass to any one else. But the fact 
indubitably was that the notion of the marine aquarium 
having suddenly seized the public, the tank in the Fish 
House had proved to be an exceedingly paying attraction. 
It was, perhaps, not in human nature that the secretary 
should with equanimity see the same advantages offered 
to rival and imitative establishments. No doubt it would 
have been possible to make an arrangement by which 
Philip Gosse's services would have been exclusively 
retained for the Zoological Society. But in default of 
such an arrangement, to turn suddenly from blessing to 
cursing, and angrily to denounce his want of consideration 
for the society, was scarcely wise and certainly unjust. 

When, in 1852, the state of his health seemed to render 
precarious the continuance of that kind of work by which 
Philip Gosse had hitherto maintained himself, he looked 
with hope to the scheme of the marine aquarium, as to 
a possible means by which he might obtain a livelihood 
without much mental labour indoors, and when his pro- 
posals were entertained by the Zoological Society, he 
congratulated himself But he never considered this en- 
gagement as more than temporary, and he principally 
looked forward to parlour aquaria, supplied by him with 


animals, in the hope that these might be extensively 
patronized by wealthy amateurs. Hence it became an 
object with him to be widely recognized as the man who 
had been the first to give attention to the subject, and 
who possessed unique experience in it. On his side, 
from a business point of view, he was disappointed that 
the Zoological Society had not permitted some slight 
allusion to his name to appear in connection with the 
numerous descriptions of the new vivaria which were com- 
municated to the public prints. Relations had certainly 
become strained on both sides, and it is impossible, with 
the correspondence before me, to exculpate the Zoological 
Society from some lack of justice, as well as generosity, 
in the matter. By the intervention of Professor Thomas 
Bell, however, civilities were resumed, but Philip Gosse 
ceased to supply the Zoological Gardens in Regent's Park 
with specimens ; nor was the dispute brought to a close 
until fourteen months later. 

Partly owing to the worry involved in this dispute, he 
began in August to suffer again from violent pains in the 
head. He went on, however, very assiduously collecting 
animals, the public having thoroughly awakened to the 
interest which attached to the vivaria. In particular, the 
Surrey Zoological Gardens, at the Crystal Palace, were 
abundantly stocked by Philip Gosse. In September he 
writes from Weymouth: "We have not at present any 
thoughts of leaving this place. Perhaps we may remain 
here all the winter." He was busily occupied in construct- 
ing a small tank for himself, and this was set up, filled with 
living creatures, and started as an article of drawing-room 
furniture, in the Weymouth lodgings on September 5, 1853. 
This, the first private marine aquarium ever made, still 
exists in my possession. 

The Devonshire Coast had been published, as we have 


seen, in May, and had enjoyed a brilliant success. Letters 
of compliment, questions, and suggestions poured in upon 
the author, and among the flood of correspondence there 
floated to his door one missive from a stranger who was 
destined to become a beloved and intimate friend. In 
July, 1853, Philip Gosse received his first letter from the 
Rev. Charles Kingsley, a young poet and novelist already 
distinguished, and full of energy and intelligent curiosity. 
In his first letter, Kingsley urged my father to try Clovelly 
as a hunting-ground, and suggested that they should 
meet in Devonshire. To this Philip Gosse did not re- 
spond in his habitually cautious tone, but warmed up into 
an infectious enthusiasm. *' How pleasant it would be," 
he wrote, "to have such a companion as yourself in 
the investigation of those prolific shores ! " He adds : 
" I have sent up to London this summer nearly four 
thousand living animals and plants. Of course many 
rarities and some novelties have occurred in such an 
amount of dredging and trawding as this involved. Be 
assured, my dear sir, I shall esteem it a favour and a 
privilege to continue the correspondence you have com- 
menced." Charles Kingsley became, almost immediately, 
one of the most ardent, and certainly the most active, of 
his allies. 

In September Philip Gosse began to write the volume 
now known as TJie Aquarium, but entitled, until it was 
actually in the press, T/ie Mimic Sea. This was a record 
of his deep-sea adventures off Weymouth, and a full de- 
scription of the theory and practice of the marine aquarium. 
The confirmed ill-health, or rather feeble health, of Mrs. 
Gosse, and a return of his own brain-trouble, combined 
with the cold and gusty weather of December to disgust 
them with Weymouth, and just about the time when it 
had been proposed that they should join Kingsley in 


North Devon, the latter proceeded to Torquay, and the 
Gosses came up to London. They took a small house in 
Huntingdon Street, Islington, and this became their home 
for some years. 

There is not very much to record regarding the year 
1854. Gosse worked much at the Rotifera^ and he estab- 
lished several marine tanks, which he supplied with animals 
and plants from Torquay and Weymouth. Edward Forbes, 
C. Spence Bate, and Charles Kingsley were his most 
constant correspondents, and the latter threw himself with 
his customary splendid energy into the popularization of 
the marine aquarium. In December, 1853, Kingsley had 
written from Livermead, on Tor Bay, to know whether he 
could be useful in sending " beasts " up to town. Gosse 
replied with eager gratitude, and supplied him imme- 
diately with a hamper of suitable wicker-covered jars. 
These Kingsley promptly returned very successfully packed 
with desirable specimens, and a brisk correspondence of 
this nature went on all through the first six months of 
1854. On May 30 Gosse writes to Kingsley: "My most 
charming tank is now thirteen weeks old, and contains 
nearly a hundred species of animals, and perhaps twice 
that number of individuals, all in the highest health and 
beauty. They include four fishes, viz. LahriLS Donovani^ 
Gobitis minntiis^ Gobiiis tmiptmctatus, and Syngnathus 
anguinens ; besides many of the treasures you have kindly 
sent me, — our old friend the ' say-lache ' among them, — 
and the seaweeds which are the subject of my paper in 
the Annals of Natural History for the coming month." 

In June the Gosses went down somewhat suddenly to 
Tenby, in Pembrokeshire. The Aqtiariiun had just been 
published, and was selling like wild-fire. This book, I 
may mention, was the most successful of all my father's 
literary adventures ; although the coloured plates with 


which it was lavishly adorned were so costly that no 
publisher would have faced the risk of their production, 
the profit on the sale of the volume amounted, in pro- 
cess of time, to more than ;^900. From Tenby Gosse 
wrote as follows to Charles Kingsley (June 29, 1854) :— 
" A most lovely place this is : I know not whether to 
''admire most the inland scenery, the noble cliffs and 
"headlands and caverns of the coast line, or the pro- 
" fusion of marine animals which I meet with. It is by 
" far the most prolific place for the naturalist that I have 
"explored, and I expect to get some treasures here. 
''The ^^xoXXy Actinia nivea that I described from a speci- 
"men found at Petit Tor is here the characteristic 
" species, occurring by hundreds ; and there is a most 
" charming variety (if it be not indeed specifically dis- 
"tinct) which has the whole disc of a miniate or orange 
" hue, very brilliant, and the tentacles pure white." 
The Aquarium was made the peg upon which, in No- 
vember, 1854, Kingsley hung an article in the North 
British Review, afterwards (May, 1855) enlarged and pub- 
lished as the charming little volume called Glaucus ; or, the 
Wonders of the Shore, through the pages of which the 
lilies of my father's praise are sprinkled from full hands. 

Bowerbank had in 1852 assured Philip Gosse that he 
would find Tenby ''the prince of places for a naturalist," 
and Pembrokeshire, though now first visited, had never 
been absent from his mind. The very first evening, after 
securing lodgings, the family strolled out at low tide to 
the island of St. Catherine, and the naturalist saw enough 
to assure him that "its honeycombed rocks and dark 
weedy basins are full of promise for to-morrow." A few 
days afterwards, he wrote to Bowerbank that " the zoologi- 
cal riches of these perforated caverns amply bear out your 
laudatory testimony ; indeed, I have not met with any 


part of our coast which can compare with them in afford- 
ing a treat to the marine naturaHst." In his volume called 
Tenby he has given an account, as minute as it is graphic, 
of the experiences oi these summer weeks, and of the 
results to his aquarium collections. His very delightful 
and almost uniformly brilliant and successful visit to 
Pembrokeshire came to a close on August i8. These 
eight weeks were among the most enjoyable o{ his life. 
His bodily condition was unusuall}- good, and Mrs. Gosse 
was in better health than she had been for two }*ears past ; 
while he was actively and constantly making additions of 
a more or less important character to the existing know- 
ledge of seaside zoolog}-. His important discoveries, lead- 
ing to a redistribution of genera, and the naming of many 
new species, of British sea-anemones, belong to this summer 
of 1S54, although they were not then published. 

In the course q{ the summer, as he was exploring the 
caverns of St. Catherine's Island, he was accosted by a 
gentleman who introduced himself as the Bishop of Oxford, 
and who entered with great gusto into the pleasures of the 
seashore. The acquaintance thus oddly formed ripened 
into a daily companionship as long as they were both at 
Tenby, and after they parted, Dr. Wilberforce and my 
father kept up a desultory correspondence for a while. 
Another and more permanent friendship formed at Tenby 
was that with Mr. Frederick D}-ster, the zoologist ; from 
whom he bought, for £10, the microscope which he con- 
tinued, regardless of modern improvements, to use until 
near the end of his life. His acquaintance with Professor 
Huxley, then a young surgeon whose investigations into 
the oceanic Hydrozoa, on board H.iM.S. Rattlesnake, had 
recently given him scientific prominence, and whose 
contributions to his own collection Gosse records in Tenby, 
began in this year : but his principal scientific or literar}- 



correspondent continued to be Charles Kinj^sley, who in 
June had taken a house at Northdown, near l^ideford, and 
was writing Westward IIo ! On Gosse's return from 
Tenby he had found ICdward Forbes in London, shrunken 
to a phantom of his fcjrmer self, but still cheerful and brave. 
He was to die in November, and thus to terminate prema- 
turely one of the most brilliant careers of the time. To 
luJward Forbes my father was strongly attached by 
friendship as well as admiration, and liis was in later }'ears 
one of the names which he was wont most affectionately 
to recall. 

The autumn and winter of 1854 were almost exclusively 
occupied with the study of the Rotifera under the 
microscope, culminating in a treatise of great though 
strictly technical importance, On the Structure, F2inctions, 
and Homologies of the Matidncatory Organs in tJie Class 
Rotifera, published eventually in the Philosophical 
Trajisactions of the Royal Society for 1856. This work 
is illustrated with a great many drawings of the mastax 
and trophi of various species, and " discusses the changes 
that they undergo, in passing from the t)'pical to the most 
aberrant forms. It is in this treatise that Mr. Gosse 
contends that the dental organs of the rotifera are true 
mandibulae and maxillae, and that the mastax is a mouth ; 
and assigns to the class a position among the Articiilatal' 
says Dr. Hudson, who gives this work a high rank in the 
literature' concerning the rotifera. Having sent this 
monograph in to the council of the Royal Society, Philip 
Gosse immediately returned to the revision of his old 
translation of Ehrenberg's Die LifnsionstJiierchcn. The 
monograph was accepted, and read at the Ro}'al Society on 
F^ebruary 22, 1855, and on successive evenings. It began 
to seem as though it were impossible for Philip Gosse, 
however, to live in London, or bear the least social excite- 


ment. Quiet as his winter was, it was not quiet enough, 
and he began again to suffer from such excruciating pains 
in the head, that he was forced to abandon almost wholly 
the exercise of writing. He discovered it possible, 
although very irksome, to dictate, but having found a 
rapid and sympathetic amanuensis, he reconciled himself 
to this mode of composition. It even exaggerated his 
flowing and confidential style, the characteristics of which 
are seen, almost to excess, in the pages of Tenby. 

The year 1855 was not marked by any incidents of a 
very unique character. The manner of life of the Gosses 
remained almost unchanged, my father merely pushing 
further and further along the various paths of scientific 
investigation of which he held the threads. In February 
was published Abraham and his Children, a volume on 
religious education, the most ambitious work which Emily 
Gosse had hitherto produced ; and Philip Gosse began, at 
the same time, a book called The Pond-Raker, which was 
to be a popular introduction to the study of the Rotifera. 
It proved difficult to popularize so abstruse a subject, and 
The Po7zd-Raker, in spite of enthusiastic encouragement 
from Charles Kingsley, soon quitted his pond and dropped 
his rake, to be replaced by the Mamtal of Mari7ie Zoology, 
a work of reference of real importance. On March 20, 
1855, Gosse read before the Linnaean Society an important 
paper on Peachia, a new genus of unattached, cylindrical 
sea-anemones, buried in sand, which he had characterized 
from specimens secured in Torbay, and sent to him by 
Charles Kingsley. This paper attracted a good deal of 
attention, and among those present on the occasion of its 
reading was Charles Darwin, to whom my father was that 
evening presented for the first time. Gosse was captivated 
at once, as all who met -him were, by the simplicity, 
frankness, and cordiality of this great and charming man. 


Late in March the family proceeded again to Weymouth 
for a month, and Phih'p Gosse immediately resumed his 
work of collecting on the shore and dredging in the bay, 
encouraged and cheered through rather bad weather by 
the unexpected companionship of Bowerbank. The text 
of the first volume of the Manual \\7i.?> finished in June and 
published in July, upon which the Gosses, without delay, 
started for a second visit to Ilfracombe. For some time 
previously circulars had been sent out inviting persons 
who desired to make themselves acquainted with the living 
objects which the shore produced, and who wished to learn 
at the same time how to col ect and how to determine the 
names and the zoological relations of the specimens when 
found, to join the writer on the shore of North Devon. 

But, before these circulars were issued, in the spring 
of 1855, Kingsley had already committed a discreet indis- 
cretion concerning the project. He had written in Glaucus : 
"That most pious and most learned naturalist, Mr. Gosse, 
whose works will be so often quoted in these pages, 
proposes, it is understood, to establish this summer a 
regular shore class, . . . and I advise any reader whose 
fancy such a project pleases, to apply to him for details of 
the scheme." The consequence was that Gosse was received 
at Ilfracombe by a small party of ladies and gentlemen, who 
formed themselves into a class for the study of marine 
natural history. An hour or two was spent on the shore 
every day on which the tide and the weather were suit- 
able ; and when otherwise, the occupation was varied by 
an indoor lesson on the identification of the animals 
obtained, the specimens themselves affording illustrations. 
But the weather was generally fine, and not a few species 
of interest, with some rarities, came under the notice of 
the class, scattered as they were over the rocks, and peep- 
ing into the pools, almost every day for a couple of months. 



Then the prizes were brought home, where each member 
or group of the class had a httle aquarium for the study 
of their habits ; their beauties investigated by the pocket- 
lens, and the minuter kinds examined under the microscope. 
A little also was effected in the way of dredging the sea- 
bottom and in surface-fishing ; but the chief attention of 
the class was given to shore-collecting, and very novel 
and agreeable the amusement was unanimously voted. 
^ Here for the first time I can trust my own recollection 
for one or two of those detached impressions which remain 
imprinted here and there on the smoothed-out wax of a 
child's memory. I recall a long desultory line of persons 
on a beach of shells, — doubtless at Barricane. At the head 
of the procession, like Apollo conducting the Muses, my 
father strides ahead in an immense wide-awake, loose black 
coat and trousers, and fisherman's boots, with a collecting- 
basket in one hand, a staff or prod in the other. Then 
follow gentlemen of every age, all seeming spectacled and 
old to me, and many ladies in the balloon costume of 1855, 
with shawls falling in a point from between their shoulders 
to the edge of their flounced petticoats, each wearing a 
mushroom hat with streamers ; I myself am tenderly 
conducted along the beach by one or more of these 
enthusiastic nymphs, and "jumped " over the perilous little 
watercourses that meander to the sea, stooping every 
moment to collect in the lap of my pink frock the profuse 
and lovely shells at my feet. This is one memory, and 
another is of my father standing at the mouth of a sort of 
funnel in the rocks, through which came at intervals a 
roaring sound, a copious jet of exploding foam, and a 
sudden liquid rainbow against the dark wall of rock, 
surrounding him in its fugitive radiance. Without question, 
this is a reminiscence of the Capstone Spout-Holes, to 
which my father would be certain to take the class, " the 


ragged rock-pools that lie in the deep shadow of the 
precipice on this area " being, as he says in the Devonshire 
Coast, "tenanted with many fine kinds of algae, zoophytes, 
Crustacea, and medusae." 

Of the members of the class, one of the most enthusiastic 
was Sir Charles Lighton, with whom, on frequent occasions, 
after sending the others home laden to their aquariums, 
my father would start for a dredging excursion off Lee 
or Smallmouth. In August the class dispersed, and on 
September 6 the Gosses returned to town, followed by 
hampers of living creatures, most of which bore the journey 
very successfully. Philip Gosse immediately took up the 
comiposition of his Handbook to the Marine Aquarium, a 
practical supplement to the work which he had lately 
been engaged upon ; it was soon finished, and he resumed 
the notes and observations which he had made in 
Pembrokeshire in 1854, and began actively to rewrite the 
volume eventually published under the name of Tenby. 
The Handbook was published early in October, and an 
edition of no less than two thousand copies speedily 
exhausted, so great was the interest and curiosity now 
excited among the educated classes by the invention of 
the marine aquarium. The year closed uneventfully, except 
that just before Christmas the pains in the head, which had 
left him unattacked now for many months, set in again 
with extreme severity, and threatened to check his work. 

Besides the first volume of the Manual of Marine Zoology 
and the Handbook to the Marine Aquarium, Philip Gosse 
composed in 1854 a little guide-book to Kew Gardens, 
and wrote a number of technically scientific papers for the 
Royal Society, the Linnaean Society, the Microscopical 
Society, and the " Annals of Natural History." This may, 
then, be taken as one of his fullest years, for he was actively 
lecturing at the same time on popular invertebrate zoology 


at a variety of institutes and public rooms. He recovered 
his usual condition of health before the close of the year, 
and 1856 seemed to dawn upon his wife and himself 
with a more than common promise of happiness and 
peace. Emily Gosse had begun to undertake a species of 
religious work, in which she was to achieve a singular 
success. In the autumn of 1855 was published the Yoimg 
Guards7nan of the Ahna, a Gospel Tract issued in leaflet 
form by the Weekly Tract Society, and founded on an 
incident of the Crimean War personally known to the 
writer. She had already printed six of these leaflets, and 
the enormous demand for this particular one led her to 
concentrate her attention, during the brief remainder of her 
life, upon this species of composition. Forty-one of these 
tracts were published in all, collected after her death in a 
general volume. It has been stated that not less than 
half a million copies of these Gospel Tracts of hers were 
circulated, and they have been spread to the remotest 
corners of the globe, effecting, as one cannot question, no 
small benefit by their pious candour and their direct 
appeal to the unawakened conscience. 

My own memories of her during this winter of 1855-56, 
the last which we were to spend together in peace, are 
vivid enough. I specially recollect sitting on a Sunday 
morning upon a cushion at her knees, one of her long, 
veined hands resting upon mine, to learn a chapter of the 
Gospel of St. Matthew by heart ; and, while her soft voice 
read out the sacred verses, suddenly seeing something in 
her Icirge eyes and wasted features, which gave me a pre- 
monition that I should lose her. Most clearly I recall the 
terror of it, the unexpressed anguish. It is the more 
strange, because I am sure that this was in the winter, 
and before any one had guessed that she was stricken with 
mortal disease. 


In March Philip Gosse read before the Royal Society an 
important monograph on the DicBcioiis Character of the 
Rotifera, which attracted a great deal of attention, and 
led to his election as F.R.S. on the next occasion, the 
4th of June of that year, Dr. Lankester being his proposer. 
In March also was published Tenby, the third of his 
chatty, popular volumes, describing the zoological adven- 
tures of a summer on the British shores, and adorned with 
coloured plates. For some reason or another, in spite of the 
increased distinction of the author, this was not nearly so 
successful as either of its immediate predecessors ; although 
a book which brought in a net profit of over ;^500 can 
only be spoken of as relatively, not positively, unsuccessful. 
Tenby had the disadvantage, as I have said, of being in 
great part dictated, not written, by the author. The 
gossipy and confidential manner, too — what The Saturday 
Review called *' ]\Ir. Gosse's air of taking us upon his knee 
like a grandpapa " — was carried in certain of its chapters 
to some excess, and, what was after all probably the main 
reason, the style itself and the matter were no longer so 
deliciously fresh and novel to the public as they had been 
in 1852. None the less, Tenby is a charming book, and 
must be read with A Naturalist' s Ramble on the Devonshire 
Coast and The Aqnarium,diS giving the completest expression 
of one most important branch of my father's literary' work, 
namely, his picturesque introduction of and apology for the 
pleasures of collecting animals and plants on the seashore. 
My father and mother had now been married between 
seven and eight years. Their wedded life, which had 
opened under circumstances which might have seemed 
not wholly favourable to their happiness, had become year 
by year a closer, a tenderer, and a more sympathetic 
relation. As each had grown to know the other better, the 
finer faculties of both had been drawn out. My father. 


formerly so stiff and self-reliant, had learned to repose more 
and more easily on my mother's tact and wisdom ; she 
had, by a magnificent effort, trained herself in mature life 
to take an interest in subjects and in a course of technical 
study which had been foreign to her inclination. She was 
now a part of his intellectual as well as his emotional life. 
Not a rotifer was held captive under the microscope, not 
a crustacean of an unknown species shook a formidable 
clapper at the naturalist, but the cry of " Emily ! Emily ! " 
brought the keen eye and sympathetic lips on to the scene 
in a moment. Under her care, all that was warmest and 
brightest in Philip Gosse's character had been developed ; 
he had ceased to shun his kind ; he had lost his shy- 
ness, and had become one of the most genial, if still one 
of the most sententious of men. Every year this mellow- 
ing influence became more apparent ; every year brought 
more of sunlight into the circle of their hopes and interests. 
But now the gloom was to close again over their life, and 
they were to pass together, through anguish of body and 
mind, into the valley of the shadow of death. 

Late in April, my mother became conscious of a local 
discomfort in her left breast, the result, she supposed, of 
some slight bruise. But on May i, being with her old 
friends at Tottenham, Miss Mary Stacey persuaded her 
to consult a physician, who rather crudely and roughly 
pronounced it to be cancer. She returned very calmly to 
her home, and in the course of the evening she quietly told 
her husband. Next day they called on Dr. Hyde Salter, 
F.R.S., and on Mr. (now Sir) James Paget, both of whom 
• declared that the presence of that disease was indubitable. 
Each of these eminent practitioners recommended a 
surgical operation. But from this the sufferer shrank. My 
mother had an excessive dread of physical pain, and in 
those days the modern ingenuities of anaesthetics were 


unknown. Dr. Salter, sympathizing with this weakness 
of nerve, and recognizing her exhausted condition, men- 
tioned to the couple the name of a certain American who 
was then in London, professing to cure cancer by a new 
process, without the requirement of excision. It is need- 
less for me to enter here into any of the harrowing details of 
his method. Enough to say that he used " a secret medica- 
ment," and that he declared his treatment to be painless. 
In some cases, of a less serious kind, he may have been 
successful. Hard words and reproaches are out of place 
now after so great a lapse of years. It is but charity to 
hope that in deceiving others he was himself in some 
measure deceived. 

On :May 12, 1856, my mother began to attend the con- 
sulting-room o^ this person, and to subject herself to his 
treatment So far from the secret ointment being painless, it 
caused "a gnawing or aching in the breast, which at times 
was scarcely supportable." The doctor lived in Pimlico, 
and the double journey from Islington was not a little 
tedious and distressing. Meanwhile both my father and 
mother, with that happy unconsciousness of the future 
which alone makes life endurable, were buoyed up with 
hope, and suffered no depression of spirits. His literary 
work and his lecturing proceeded. The second volume of 
the Mafiual of Mariiie Zoology was completed before the 
end of May, and Philip Gosse's election and admission to 
the Royal Society were equally enjoyed by them both. 
The diaries of these summer months give little or no 
indications of distress. In July he was away for a little 
while, dredging off Deal and " anemonizing," as he called 
it, in St. Margaret's Bay. He had made arrangements to 
meet a natural history class, as in 1S55, on the seashore 
in August, and this time the rendezvous had been fixed 
at Tenby, on the coast of South Wales. "It had been a 


subject of some solicitude with us," he says, "whether that 
sweet companionship, which had never been interrupted 
more than a few days at a time since our union, would be 

vouchsafed to us there. Dr. , however, had from time 

to time encouraged us to expect it ; and, when the time 
arrived, he gave his full and hearty consent, furnishing my 
dear Emily with a supply of medicaments, and giving her 
instructions for their application. His confidence had by 
this time communicated itself to us, so that our minds 
scarcely contemplated a fatal issue, except as a very 
improbable, or at least very remote, contingency." 

They went down to Tenby on August 29, and the 
meetings of the class began on September i. The order 
of the day was what it had been at Ilfracombe the year 
before — excursions on the rocks, lectures indoors, collec- 
tions in small private aquariums, more limited and 
occasional dredging parties outside in the bay. One 
considerable disappointment, however, awaited the class. 
In the noble perforate caverns around Tenby my father 
had found the most exquisite creatures in abundance in 
1854. "Almost every dark overarched basin hollowed in 
the sides of the caves, or in similar situations, at Lidstep, 
at St. Margaret's Island, and under Tenby Head, each 
filled to the brim with crystalline water, has its rugged 
walls and floor studded with the full-blown blossoms " of 
these lovely animal flowers. But when he came in 1856, 
these caverns and almost every accessible part of the 
neighbouring coasts had been hacked by the hammers and 
chisels of amateur naturalists. He wrote with justified 
indignation : " If the visitors were gainers to the same 
extent that the rocks are losers, there would be less cause 
for regret ; but owing to difficulty and unskilfulness com- 
bined, probably half a dozen anemones are destroyed for 
one that goes into the aquarium." 


The romantic caverns of the ishand of St. Catherine 
were still the main, and on the whole the happiest, hunt- 
ing-grounds ; but sometimes the entire class was conducted 
to Monkstone and Sandersfoot, or even so far as to Scot- 
borough. For the first time Mrs. Gossc was unable to 
take part in these rambles, and her days would be spent, 
in the long warm September, in sitting on the sands, writ- 
ing, or chatting to one of those improvised friends whom 
her sweet and dignified cordiality created wherever she 
went. She had always possessed an unusual power of 
attracting the confidence of strangers, and those who were 
sad, poor, and forlorn could seldom resist the temptation 
of pouring the burden of their sorrows into her ear. As 
she herself grew more and more the confidant of pain 
and weariness, instead of her temper becoming fretful, her 
sympathy took a deeper colouring, her interest in the 
griefs of others grew more patient and sincere. All this 
time she was growing worse, and when they returned to 
London on October 2, neither could conceal from the 
other their secret sense of dismay at the change in her 
power of enduring the fatigue of travel. 

More drastic methods w^ere now recommended by the 
doctor, and to carry them out it was necessary that 
the patient should be close to him. My mother and her 
little seven years' old son, therefore, moved into bleak and • 
comfortless lodgings in Cottage Road, Pimlico, the only 
advantage of which was the fact that they were next door 
to the doctor's house. My father could only be with us . 
from Saturday night to Monday morning. During the 
rest of the week we two supported and comforted each 
other as well as we could ; through drear}' da)-s and still 
more dreary nights, which have left their indelible impres- 
sion on the temperament as well as the memory of the 
survivor, we were alone together. This prolonged illness. 


and the heavy fees of the practitioner, made severe drains 
upon the family finances, and demanded ceaseless labour 
on my father's part. Yet there was some work of a different 
and a higher kind performed through this distressing 
winter. One of the most brilliant of all his monographs 
— his own special favourite in later years — the paper on 
Lav sabellarum, was read before the Linnaean Society in 
December, and was received with great respect. There 
was much close correspondence, too, and interchange 
of specimens, with Joshua Alder in the North, and with 
Robert Battersby in Torquay. Philip Gosse, moreover, 
was engaged at this time in the delightful task of helping 
Charles Darwin to develop his various important theories, 
and the three succeeding letters (now first published) may 
be taken as specimens of this correspondence : — 

" Down, Bromley, Kent, September 22, 1856. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I want much to beg a little information from 
" you. 

" I am working hard at the general question of varia- 
"tion, and paying for this end special attention to 
" domestic pigeons. This leads me to search out how 
" many species are truly rock pigeons, i.e. do not roost 
" or willingly perch or nest in trees. Tenminck puts C. 
" leiicocepJiala (your bald-pate) under this category. Can 
" this be the case ? Is the loud coo to which you refer 
"in your interesting Sojourn like that of the domestic 
"pigeon ? I see in this same work you speak of rabbits 
" run wild ; I am paying much attention to them and 
"am making a large collection of their skeletons. Do 
" you think you could get any of your zealous and 
" excellent correspondents to send me an adult (neck 
''not broken) female specimen? It would be of great 


"value to mc. It might be sent, I should think, in a 
"jar with profusion of salt and split in the abdomen. 
" I should also be very glad to have one of the wild 
"canary birds for the same object ; I have a specimen 
" in spirits from Madeira. 

" Do you think you could aid me in this, and shall you 
" be inclined to forgive so very troublesome a request ? 
"As I have found the good nature of fellow-naturalists 
" almost unbounded, I will venture further to state that 
" the body of any domestic or fancy pigeon which has 
•'been for some generations in the West Indies would 
" be of extreme interest, as I am collecting specimens 
" from all quarters of the world. 

" Trusting to your forgiveness, 

"■ I remain, my dear sir, 

" Yours sincerely, 
" Ch. Darwin." 

"Down, Bromley, Kent, September 28, 1856. 
" Mv DEAR Sir, 

" I thank you warmly for your extremely kind 
"letter, and for your information about the bald-pate, 
"which is quite sufficient. When we meet next I shall 
" beg to hear the actual coo ! 

" I will by this very post write to Mr. Hill, and will 
"venture to use your name as an introduction, which I 
" am sure will avail me much ; so you need take no 
" trouble on the subject, as using your name will be all 
" that I should require. With my sincere thanks, 

"Yours truly, 

"Ch. Darwin. 
" I am very anxious to get all cases of the transport 
"of plants or animals to distant islands. I have been 
" trying the effects of salt water on the vitality of seeds 


" — their powers of floatation — whether earth sticks to 
"birds' feet or base of beak, and I am experimenting 
"whether small seeds are ever enclosed in such earth, 
" etc. Can you remember any facts ? But of all cases 
"whatever, the means of transport (and such I must 
" think exist) of land mollusca utterly puzzle me most. 
" I should be very grateful for any light." 

"Moor Park, Farnham, Surrey, April 27, 1857. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I have thought that perhaps in course of the 
" summer you would have an opportunity, and would be 
" so very kind as to try a little experiment for me. I 
" think I can tell best what I want by telling what I 
" have done. The wide distribution of some species of 
" fresh-water molluscs has long been a great perplexity 
"to me ; I have just lately hatched a lot, and it occurred 
"to me that when first born they might perhaps have 
'' not acquired phytophagous habits, and might perhaps 
" like nibbling at a duck's foot. Whether this is so I do 
"not know, and indeed do not believe it is so, but I 
" found when there were many very young molluscs in 
" a small vessel with aquatic plants, amongst which I 
" placed a dried duck's foot, that the little barely visible 
" shells often crawled over it, and then they adhered so 
" firmly that they could not be shaken off", and that the 
" foot being kept out of water in a damp atmosphere, the 
" little molluscs survived well ten, twelve, or fifteen hours, 
" and 2, few even twenty- four hours. And thus, I believe, 
" it must be the fresh-water shells get from pond to pond, 
" and even to islands out at sea. A heron fishing, for 
" instance, and then startled, might well on a rainy day 
" carry a young mollusc for a long distance. Now you 
" will remember that E. Forbes argues chiefly from the 


"difficulty of imagining how littoral sea-molluscs could 
"cross tracts of open ocean, that islands, such as Madeira, 
"must have been joined by continuous land to P^urope ; 
"which seems to me, for many reasons, very rash 
"reasoning. Now, what I want to beg of you is, that 
"you would try an analogous experiment with some sea- 
" mollusc, especially any strictly littoral species — hatching 
"them in numbers in a smallish vessel and seeing 
" whether, either in larval or young shell state, they can 
"adhere to a bird's foot and survive, say, ten hours in 
''damp atmosphere out of water. It may seem a trifling 
" experiment, but seeing what enormous conclusions 
"poor Forbes drew from his belief that he knew all 
"means of distribution of sea-animalcules, it seems to 
" me worth trying. My health has lately been very in- 
" different, and I have come here for a fortnight's water- 
" cure. 

"I owe to using your name a most kind and most 
" valuable correspondent, in Mr. Hill of Spanish Town. 

" I hope you will forgive my troubling you on the 
" above points, and believe me, my dear sir, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" Ch. Darwin. 

"P.S. — Can you tell me, you who have so watched all 
" sea-nature, whether male crustaceans ever fight for the 
" females ? is the female sex in the sea, like on the land, 
" ' teterrima belli causa ? ' I beg you not to answer this 
" letter, without you can and will be so kind as to tell 
" me about crustacean battles, if such there be." 

To this my father replied with ample notes, as, a little 
later, he helped Darwin to collect facts with regard to 
the agency of bees in the fertilization of papilionaceous 


My mother's condition, however, was growing more 
hopeless week by week, and, under the cruel severity of the 
treatment, her anguish had become absolutely constant. 
She now slept only under the inducement of opiates ; and, 
at last, after torturing her delicate frame so savagely for 
eight months, the doctor confessed that the malady was 
beyond his skill. On December 24 she was taken home, 
a wreck and shadow of herself, to Huntingdon Street, and 
for the brief remainder of her life she was under the 
soothing care of the eminent homoeopathic physician, 
Dr. John Epps, whose principle appeared mainly to consist 
in the alleviating and deadening of pain. Now, for the 
first time, these sanguine lovers realized that the hour 
of their parting was at hand ; and they faced the know- 
ledge with fortitude. The extreme kindness of a cousin, 
' Mrs. Morgan, was an immense relief to both. This lady 
•came up from Clifton, unsolicited, and undertook the 
night-nursing of the patient until near the end. The 
harrowing details of these last weeks are given with too 
faithful and self-torturing minuteness by my father in his 
Memorial. The long-drawn agony, borne to the very last 
with an ever-increasing saintly patience, came to a close 
at one o'clock on the morning of Monday, February 9, 
1857. My mother lies in the remotest corner of Abney 
Park Cemetery. 

( 271 ) 



THE death of Emily Gosse marked a crisis in the 
career of her husband. None of the customary 
expressions which are used to denote the grief and despair 
of a bereaved person are apphcable in his case. He 
showed few outward signs of distress. His faith in God, 
his impHcit confidence that what was called the death 
of the redeemed was but a passage from the ante- 
chamber of life to its recesses, to that radiant inner room 
into which he also would presently be ushered, removed 
the bitterness of separation. He was not tortured by that 
desideriiim, that insatiable and hopeless longing, which saps 
the vitality of those who have loved, and lost, and do not 
hope to regain. Yet when faith, with its clearest and 
fullest vision, has done all it can to comfort, nature will 
assert itself, and grief takes other forms. My father was 
now completing his forty-seventh year, and had reached 
an age when the first eagerness of life is over, and when 
sympathy and encouragement are necessary, if the strenuous 
effort is to be maintained. It is probable that he did not 
realize at once, in his determination to be at peace, in his 
violent subjection to the will of God, how much had been 
taken away from his power of sustaining an active 
intellectual life. He survived to recover his happiness, to 


be more happy, perhaps, than ever before, but he never 
entirely regained his energy. From this year forward he 
was retrenching, suppressing, withdrawing his forces, and 
preparing for the long-drawn seclusion of his later years. 
4: Although my mother had shared his views on all 
religious questions, and although on several occasions my 
father has noted that she stirred the embers of his zeal 
and quickened his conscience — " a very blessed revival of 
my own soul through some words which she spoke to me " — 
she had, nevertheless, an influence over him which was, on 
the whole, opposed to the stern and fanatic tendency of 
his own native temperament. Her mind was a singularly 
gay and cheerful one, and no one could distinguish more 
clearly than she did between piety and misanthropy. She 
was also liberal in her mental judgments, ardent and 
curious in her reception of new ideas ; without pretending 
to enter into the details of physiological speculation, she 
was inclined to welcome novelty, rather than to reject it. 
The volumes which my father published during the last 
five years of her life show, unless I am greatly mistaken, 
how wholesome was her influence upon his mind in these 
two directions. Nothing could be more cheerful than 
the Devonshire Coast, while Tenby is positively playful. 
Nor in any of these books, or in the monographs of a more 
technical nature which accompanied them, is there betrayed 
any want of sympathy with the progress of zoological 
thought, or suspicion of its tendency, although the principles 
of Biblical theology are boldly and frequently maintained. 
With Edward Forbes and Charles Darwin he was in 
correspondence, and was exchanging with them memoranda 
which more and more directly tended to strengthen 
j(. evolutionary ideas. In some of the monographs on the 
' class of zoophytes which Philip Gosse issued in 1855 and 
1856, passages are to be found which show the author to 


have grasped, or rather, perhaps, to have been prepared 
to grasp, the doctrine of biological development. 

But it has to be confessed that such evolutionism as he> 
accepted was timid and unphilosophical, and that sooner 
or later he would certainly have been brought to a halt by 
the definite theory of Darwin. The belief in a direct 
creative act from without, peopling the world with a sudden 
full-blown efflorescence of fauna and flora, was a part of 
my father's very being, and he would have abandoned the 
entire study of science sooner than relinquish it. He was 
aware of his limitations as a thinker ; he knew his mind to 
be one which observed closely and minutely, and failed to 
take in a wide horizon. He once, in later years, referring 
to his isolation as a zoologist, said to me that he felt him- 
self to be a disciple of Cuvier, born into an age of successors 
of Lamarck ; and his position could scarcely be defined more 
exactly. Yet it seems to me possible that if my mother 
had lived, he might have been prevented from putting 
himself so fatally and prominently into opposition to the 
new ideas. He might probably have been content to 
leave others to fight out the question on a philosophical 
basis, and might himself have quietly continued observing 
facts, and noting his observations with his early elegance 
and accuracy. 

That his mind was morbid, and his nerves unstrung, is 
clearly enough to be discovered from reading the singularly 
painful little. Memorial of the Last Days on Earth of Emily '^ 
Gosse, which he published in April, 1857. In this volume, 
written with distressing ability, he gives a picture of the 
illness and death of his wife which it is exceedingly difficult 
to describe, so harsh, so minute, so vivid are the lines, so 
little are the customary conventions of a memoir preserved. 
This little book, which was addressed, of course, to an 
extremely limited circle, was received with great displeasure 



by its readers, few of whom were well enough versed 
either in Hterature or life to understand the tenderness and 
melancholy which were concealed beneath this acrid and 
positive manner of writing. The reception of the Memo- 
rial by his wife's friends and many of his own shut him 
still further up within himself, and he became almost as 
silent and reserved as he had been before his marriage. 

He was roused, however, during the spring and summer 
of this year, by a good deal of lecturing, in Scotland, in 
the North, in the midland counties. London became inex- 
pressibly disagreeable to him, and he began to look about 
for a home in the country. In March he was approached 
by the committee of an educational scheme which was 
then occupying a good deal of public attention, a certain 
Gnoll College, which was to form the nucleus of a univer- 
sity for Wales, and was to be founded on a romantic 
acclivity in the Vale of Neath, in Glamorganshire. It was 
hoped that this institution would be richly endowed, and 
the committee was endeavouring to secure the best men in 
every branch as its professors. This Gnoll project gratified 
my father's dislike to London, and when, in June, it 
proceeded so far as the offer to him of the chair of Natural 
History, with a residence, he received the proposition 
with delight. But there was a worm at the root of this 
tree, and Gnoll never opened its academic halls. On 
September i, having satisfied himself that the Welsh 
project would come to nothing, Philip Gosse went down to 
his old haunt, the village of St. Marychurch, in South 
Devon. This place had just been seized with a building 
craze, and new villas, each in its separate garden, were 
rising on all hands. Philip Gosse hired a horse, and rode 
round the neighbourhood to see what he could find to suit 
him, and at last he discovered, near the top of the Torquay 
Road, Avhat he thought was the exact place. 


It was not ail attractive object to a romantic eye. It 
is impossible to conceive anything much more dispiriting 
than this brand-new Httle house, un papered, undried, 
standing in ghastly whiteness in the middle of a square 
enclosure of raw " garden," that is to say of ploughed field, 
laid out with gravel walks, beds without a flower or leaf, 
and a " lawn " of fat red loam guiltless of one blade of 
grass. Two great rough pollard elms, originally part of a 
hedge which had run across the site of the lawn, were the 
only objects that relieved the monotony of the inchoate 
place, which spread out, vague and uncomely, " like the red 
outline of beginning Adam." By taking the house in this 
condition, however, it was a cheap purchase, and my father 
felt that it would be a pleasure to discipline all this form- 
lessness into beauty and fertility. He never repented of 
his choice, nor ever expressed, through more than thirty 
years, the wish that he had gone elsewhere. The Devon- 
shire red loam is wonderfully stubborn, and for many 
seasons the place retained the obloquy of its newness. 
But at length the grass became velvety on the lawn, trees 
grew up and hid the unmossed limestone walls in which 
no vegetation can force a footing, and the little place grew 
bowery and secluded. It was on September 23, 1857, that 
the family settled in this house — named Sandhurst, by the 
builder, in mere wantonness of nomenclature — and this 
became their home. Philip Gosse's restless wanderings 
were over. 

Before going down into Devonshire he had completed 
two pieces of literary work, which, so far as his scientific 
credit was concerned, he might very well have left undone. 
They represent a mental condition of exhaustion and of 
irritation. The first of these, a volume of collected essays 
which had appeared in the magazine called Excelsior, was 
published in the summer of 1857. The author gave it the 



title of Life i?t its Lozver, Intermediate, and Higher Forms, 
and was startled on the day of publication by seeing it 
ticketed in the bookshops " Gosse's Life," as though some 
one had obliged the town with a premature biography of 
him. These essays were slight, and the religious element 
was quite unduly prominent, as if vague forebodings of the 
coming theory of evolution had determined the writer to 
insist with peculiar intensity on the need of rejecting all 
views inconsistent with the notion of a creative design. 
This book entirely failed to please the public, who had now 
for so many years been such faithful clients to him ; with 
the scientific class it passed almost unnoticed. 

No such gentle oblivion attended the other unlucky 
venture of the year 1857. My attempt in writing this life 
has been to present a faithful picture of my father's career, 
and I dare not omit to chronicle the disappointments and 
annoyances which attended the publication of his Oinphalos: 
An A ttempt to untie the Geological Knot. Philip Gosse was 
so profoundly unambitious, so entirely careless of what was 
thought about his doings and writings, that he can hardly 
be said to have made a mistake, in the ordinary sense of 
the phrase, in composing a book which was fatal to the 
advance of his reputation as a man of science. But others, 
to whom his fame is dearer than it was to himself, may 
bitterly regret that he left his own field of research, that 
field in which he was gathering such thick and clustering 
laurels, to adventure in a province of scientific philosophy 
which lay outside his sphere, and for which he was fitted 
neither by training, nor by native aptitude, nor by the 
possession of a mind clear from prejudice. Thoroughly 
sincere as he was, and devoted to truth as he believed 
himself to be, he lacked that deeper modesty, that nobler 
candour, which inspired the genius of Darwin. The current 
interpretation of the Bible lay upon his judgment with a 


weight that he could never throw off, and his scientific work 
was of value only in those matters of detail which remained 
beyond the jurisdiction of the canon. But, as I have said 
before, if he could have been content to rest in detail, and 
to have let the ephemeral theories of man spin themselves 
out in gossamer and disappear ; if he could have persuaded 
himself to endure with indifference what he regarded with 
disdain, all might yet have been well. In 1857 evolutionism 
was crude and vague ; a positive naturalist might well have 
been permitted to ignore it. But, unhappily, my father's i4 
conscience tortured him into protest, and he must needs T 
break a lance with the windmills of the geologists. 

The theory around which the illustrative chapters of 
Omphalos were embroidered may briefly be described. The 
pet craze of the moment was the reconciliation of Genesis 
with geology. Most men of science at that date advocated, 
or thought it decent to seem to advocate, some scheme or 
other for preventing the phenomena of geological investi- 
gation from clashing with the Mosaic record. Many of 
them, with Adam Sedgwick, thought that " we must 
consider the old strata of the earth as monuments of a 
date long anterior to the existence of man, and to the 
times contemplated in the moral records of his creation." 
Very few were, in 1857, prepared to part company alto- 
gether with the cosmogony of Genesis. They preferred to 
evade the actual language, to escape into such generalities 
as "the six ages of creation," "an antecedent state of the 
earth prior to the recorded Mosaical epoch." It was to a 
generation not as yet revolutionized or emboldened by 
Darwin and Colenso that my father addressed his 
Omphalos ; he took for g ^ranted that lii^ ron Hor^ wr^^ ^nrf 
of the fact of creation. He undertook to show them that 
the contents of the fossiliferous strata did not prove any 
process of cosmic formation which the six literal days of 


Genesis might not have covered. He proposed to reconcile 
geology not merely to the Mosaic record, but to an exact 
and inelastic interpretation of it. 

, . His theory is briefly this. Life is a circle, no one 
stage of which more than any other affords a natural 
commencing-point. Every living object has an omphalos, 
or an Qgg, or a seed, which points irresistibly to the 
existence of a previous living object of the same kind. 
Creation, therefore, must mean the sudden bursting into 
the circle, and its phenomena, produced full grown by the 
arbitrary will of God, would certainly present the stigmata 
of a pre-existent existence. Each created tree would dis- 
play the marks of sloughed bark and fallen leaves, though 
it had never borne those leaves or that bark. The teeth of 
each brute would be worn away with exercise which it had 
never taken. By innumerable examples he shows that this 
must have been the case with all living forms. If so, then 
why may not the fossils themselves be part of this breaking 
into the circle ? Why may not the strata, with their buried 
fauna and flora, belong to the general scheme of the 
prochronic development of the plan of the life-history of 
this globe? The ingenuity of this idea is great, and if 
once we believe in the literal act of creation, it is very hard 
to escape from the reasoning that leads up to it. It was an 

. example of the looseness of thought habitual to the 
majority of readers that those who desired to hold the 
orthodox view were unable to see that they were on the 
horns of a dilemma in rejecting my father's theory. What 
Omphalos really proved was the absolute necessity for some 
other definite hypothesis of the mode in which the world 
came into existence than any which assumed the tradi- 
tional idea of a sudden creative act. 

It was the notion that the world was created with fossil 
skeletons in its crust which met with most ridicule from 


readers. Philip Gosse was charged with supposing that God 
had formed these objects on purpose to deceive — in order, 
in fact, to set a trap for naughty geologists. The reply 
was obvious, and had occurred to him already. "Were the 
concentric timber-rings of a created tree formed merely to 
deceive ? " he had asked. " Were the growth-lines of a 
created shell intended to deceive } Was the navel of the 
created man intended to deceive him into the persuasion 
that he had had a parent ? " The book, nevertheless, in 
spite of the beauty and ingenuity of its literary illustration, 
was received with scorn by the world of science and 
with neglect by the general public. The moment was a 
transitional one ; the world had just been led captive by 
that picturesque piece of amateur evolutionism, TJie 
Vestiges of Creation. It was whispered here and there that 
something stronger and more convincing was on the road. 
Hooker was murmuring in the ear of Lyell that Darwin 
was in possession of some " ugly facts." The human mind 
was preparing for a great crisis of emancipation, of relief 
from a fettering order of ideas no longer tenable or endur- 
able, and no one was concerned to give even fair play to a 
piece of reasoning, such as Omphalos, whose whole purpose 
was to bind again those very cords out of which the world 
was painfully struggling. The reception of Omphalos, 
especially by the orthodox party, was an extreme disap- 
pointment to my father. So certain had he been that the 
whole camp of faith would rally around him, and that all 
Christians would accept his solution of the problem with 
rapture, that he had ordered the printing of an immense 
edition, the greater part of which was left upon his hands. 

It may be interesting to print here the candid and 
characteristic letter which he received on this occasion 
from Charles Kingslcy : — 


"Eversley, May 4, 1858. 

"My dear Mr. Gosse, 

" I have found time to read Omphalos carefully, 
"and will now write you my whole heart about it. 

" For twenty-five years I have read no book which has 
" so staggered and puzzled me. Don't fancy that I pooh- 
"pooh it. Such an idea, having once entered a man's 
" head, ought to be worked out ; and you have done so 
" bravely and honestly. 

"Your distinction between diachronism and pro- 
"chronism, instead of being nonsense, as it is in the eyes 
" of the Locke-beridden Nominalist public, is to me, as a 
" Platonist and realist, an indubitable and venerable 
"truth. For many years have I believed in that in- 
" tellectualic, of which neither time nor space can be 
"predicated, wherein God abides eternally, descending 
"into time and space only by the Logos, the creative 
"Word, Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore with me the 
" great stumbling-block to your book does not exist. 

" Nothing can be fairer than the way in which you 
"state the evidence for the microchronology. That at 
" once bound me to listen respectfully to all you had to 
" say after. And, much as I kicked and winced at first, 
" nothing, I find, can be sounder than your parallels and 
"precedents. The one case of the coccus-mother 
"(though every conceivable instance goes to prove your 
"argument) would be enough for me, assuming the 
"act of absolute creation. Assuming that — which I 
" have always assumed, as fully as you — shall I tell you 
" the truth } It is best. Your book is the first that ever 
" made me doubt it, and I fear it will make hundreds do 
" so. Your book tends to prove this — that if we accept 
" the fact of absolute creation, God becomes a Deus 
" quidam deceptor. I do not mean merely in the case 


" of fossils which pretend to be the bones of dead 
animals ; but in the one sini^le case of your newly- 
created scars on the pandanus trunk, and your newly 
"created Adam's navel, you make God tell a lie. It is 
" not my reason, but my conscience which revolts here ; 
"which makes me say, * Come what will, disbelieve what 
" ' I may, I cannot believe this of a God of truth, of Him 
"'who is Light and no darkness at all, of Him who 
"'formed the intellectual man after His own image, that 
"'he might understand and glory in His Father's works.' 
" I ought to feel this, I say, of the single Adam's 
" navel, but I can hush up my conscience at the single 
" instance ; at the great sum total, the worthlessness 
"of all geologic instruction, I cannot. I cannot give up 
"the painful and slow conclusion of five and twenty 
"years' study of geology, and believe that God has 
"written on the rocks one enormous and superfluous lie 
"for all mankind. 

"To this painful dilemma you have brought me, and 
" will, I fear, bring hundreds. It will not make me throw 
" away my Bible. I trust and hope. I know in whom I 
"have believed, and can trust Him to bring my faith 
" safe through this puzzle, as He has through others ; but 
" for the young I do fear. I would not for a thousand 
" pounds put your book into my children's hands. They 
"would use the argument of the early Reformers about 
"transubstantiation (which you mention, but to which 
" you do not give sufficient w^eight), ' My senses tell 
" ' me that this is bread, not God's body. You may burn 
" ' me alive, but I must believe my senses.' Your 
"demand on implicit faith is just as great as that 
" required for transubstantiation, and, believe me, many 
" of your arguments, especially in the opening chapter, 
"are strangely like those of the old Jesuits, and those 


"one used to hear from John Henry Newman fifteen 
"years ago, when he, copying the Jesuits, was trying to 
" undermine the grounds of all rational belief and human 
" science, in order that, having made his victims (among 
" whom were some of my dearest' friends) believe nothing, 
" he might get them by a ' Nemesis of faith ' to believe 
"anything, and rush bHndfold into superstition. Poor 
" wretch, he was caught in his own snare. I do not fear 
"you will be ; for you have set no snare, but spoken 
" like an honest Christian man ; but this I do fear, with 
" the editor of this month's Geologist, that you have given 
" the * vestiges of creation theory ' the best shove for- 
"ward which it has ever had. I have a special dislike 
" to that book ; but, honestly, I felt my heart melting 
"towards it as I read OmpJialos, and especially on 
"reading one page where I think your argument 
"weakest, not from fallacy, but from being too hastily 
"slurred over. You must rewrite and enlarge these in 
" some future edition — I mean pp. 343, 344. What you 
" say there I think true, but I always have explained it 
"to myself in this way — that God's imagining one 
"species to Himself, before creation, necessitated the 
"imagining of another, either to take its place in 
"physical uses, or to fill up 'artistically,' if I may so 
" speak, the cycle of possible forms. This was my 
" prochronism ; but I don't see how yours differs from 
"the transmutation of species theory, which your 
" argument, if filled out fairly, would, I think, be. 

"This shell would have been its ancient analogue 
" of the Pleistocene, if creation had taken place at the 
" Pleistocene era, and that, again, would have been the 
" Eocene analogue, if creation had happened an aeon 
"earlier again ; and in that case the Eocene shell would 
'have been afterward transinuted into the Pleistocene 


" one. and the Pleistocene one by this time into the 
" recent : but creation having occurred after the 
" Pleistocene era, fossils representing those (and the 
" early) links of the cycle have been inserted into their 
** proper beds. 

" Now, I wish you would look over this thought, for 
" it is what you really seem to me to lead to. I am not 
''frightened if it be true. Known unto God are all His 
' works, and that is enough for me ; but it does trouble 
" me, as a disliker of the Vestiges, to find you advocating 
" a cyclic theory of species, which, if it is to bear any 
" analogy to the cycle of individual growth, must surely 
"consist in physical transformation. 

" If you will set me right on this matter, you will do 
"me a moral good, as well as justice to yourself. 

" Pray take all I say in good part, as the speech of 
" one earnest man to another. All I want is God's 
" truth, and if I can get that I will welcome it, however 
"much it upsets my pride and my theories. And I am 
"sure, from the tone of your book, you want nothing 
" else either. 

" I promised to review your book. I pay you a high 
"compliment when I say that I shall not do so, and 
" solely for this reason — that I am not going to mount 
"the reviewer's chair, and pretend to pass judgment, 
"where I am so utterly puzzled as to confess myself 
" only a learner and an inquirer writing for light. 
" Believe me, yours more faithfully than ever, 

" C. KiNGSLEV." 

By the time, however, that OnipJialos was published, in 
November, 1857, the change from London to Devonshire 
had wrought its good work upon Gosse's mental health and 
spirits. He lost his morbid depression ; he resumed his 


own proper work of observation with enthusiasm ; and he 
started what is admitted to be the most serious and the 
most durable of his contributions to scientific literature. 
Since his first visit to Devonshire in 1852 the British 
sea-anemones and corals had attracted his constantly 
repeated attention. These curious and beautiful creatures 
had hitherto been almost entirely neglected. The sea- 
anemones had possessed but one historian, Dr. George 
Johnston, who had given them a place in his History of 
Bt'itish Zoophytes. Johnston had been a good naturalist 
in his day, but the number of varieties with which he was 
acquainted was very small, and he w^as not by any means 
careful enough in discriminating species. He lived on the 
north-eastern coast of England, where these creatures are 
rare, and the consequence was that for purposes of specific 
characterization his work was utterly worthless. Johnston, 
even in his latest edition, had been aware of the existence 
of only twenty-four British species. Gosse increased this 
number to between seventy and eighty, and no fewer than 
thirty-four species were added to the British fauna by his 
own personal investigation. But even more important, 
perhaps, than this addition to the record of known forms, 
was the creation of a complete systematic analysis of the 
order Actinoidea, a feat which Philip Gosse performed 
unaided. His system of classification was accepted in all 
parts of the scientific world, and is still in force, w'ith but 
very slight modification. 

The great work in which he embodied these investiga- 
tions was entitled Actinologia Britannica, and professed to 
be "A History of the British Sea-anemones and Corals." 
It was begun in the autumn of 1857, and concluded in the 
spring of i860, having been published in twelve bi-monthly 
parts, the first of which was issued on March i, 1858. 
During these two years, the collection and collation of 


facts connected with this inquiry formed the main occupa- 
tion of my father's time. In 1852 he had enjoyed his first 
experience of marine-collecting on the shores of Oddicombe 
and Petit Tor, and he now returned to the same pools and 
coves with a fuller experience. He found the coast but 
little interfered with, although the aquarium mania and 
the prestige of his previous visit had to some degree 
invaded his hunting-grounds. In carrying through the 
great task w^hich he had set before him, a task in which no 
predecessor had laid down the lines along which he was to 
proceed, he found it absolutely necessary to base every 
single observation on personal examination. In order to 
do this, he was obliged to provide himself with a wide 
variety of specimens, and to appeal to local naturalists 
in all parts of the British Islands for help. He printed a 
circular inviting the co-operation of strangers, in which he 
described, with minute care, what he w^anted and did not 
want, how specimens should be packed and forwarded, and 
all other needful particulars. The consequence was that 
he stimulated the zeal of fellow-labourers in all parts of 
Britain, from the Shetlands to Jersey, and the morning 
post commonly laid upon the breakfast-table at Sandhurst 
one, if not more, little box of a salt and oozy character, 
containing living anemones or corals carefully wrapped up 
in wet seaweed. In those days, fortunately, the Post 
Office had not yet wakened up to the inconvenience to 
other people's correspondence which such dribbling 
packages might cause. 

But it w^as to his own exertions that Philip Gosse mainly 
looked for the necessary specimens. Several times a week, 
if the weather and the tide were at all favourable, he would 
clamber down to the shore at Anstice Cove, at Oddicombe, 
at Petit Tor, or take longer excursions, to Maidencombe 
northwards, or to Livermead southwards on Tor Bay. In 


these excursions I was his constant, and generally his only, 
companion. He was in the habit of carrying a large 
wicker basket, so divided into compartments as to hold two 
stone jars of considerable capacity, and two smaller glass 
jars. The former were for seaweeds, crabs, large fishes — 
the rougher customers generally ; while the latter were 
dedicated to rare anemones, nudibranchs, small crustaceans, 
and the other fairy people of the pools. To me was 
generally entrusted an additional glass jar, in a wicker case, 
and sometimes a green gauze net, such as the capturers of 
butterflies carry, which was to be used for surface-fishing, 
and for gently shaking into its folds the delicate forms 
that might be hiding in the seaweed curtains of large 
still tidal pools. 

One important portion of our work on the shore con- 
sisted in turning over the large flat stones in sequestered 
places. Great discretion was needed in selecting the 
right stones. Those which were too heavily set would 
contain nothing, resting too deeply to admit the sea to 
their lower surface. Those which were balanced too 
lightly would be found deserted, because too frequently 
disturbed. But the stone sagaciously chosen as being flat 
enough, and heavy enough, and yet not too heavy, would 
often display on its upturned under surface a marvellous 
store of beautiful minute rarities — nudibranchs that looked 
like tiny animated amethysts and topazes ; unique little 
sea-anemones in the fissures ; odd crabs, as flat as farthinsrs, 
scuttling away in agitation ; fringed worms, like bronzed 
cords, or strings dipped in verdigris, serpentining in and 
out of decrepit tufts of coralline. 

When our backs ached with the strain of stone-turningf, 
we used to proceed further into the broken rockwork of 
the promontory or miniature archipelago, and the more 
serious labour of collecting in tidal pools, or on the retreating 


seaward surface of mimic cliffs, would begin. Protected by 
his tall boots, my father would step into mid-seas, and, 
stooping under a dripping wall of seaweeds, would search 
beneath the algcu for such little glossy points of colour as 
revealed interesting forms to his practised eye. If these 
would not come away under the persuasion of the fingers, 
he would shout to me, as guardian of the basket, to hand 
over to him the hammer and the cold chisel, and a few 
skilful blows would bring away the fragment of rock, with 
its atoms of animated jelly adhering to it, uninjured and 
almost unruffled, to be popped immediately into one or 
other of the jars, according to his decision. This would 
go on until, with splashings from below, the result of 
eager pursuit of objects seen almost out of reach, and 
drippings from above, caused by the briny rain from the 
shaken curtains of the seaweeds, he would be drenched 
almost to the skin ; and then, by a violent revulsion, he 
would seize the net, and sally forth, wading, on to the 
shallow waters of the sands, skimming the surface for 
medusae, small fishes, and such other tender flotsam as 
might come within his reach. Two or three hours of all 
this fatigue were commonly as m.uch as he could bear, and 
so much energy did he throw into the business that he 
would often turn away at last, not satisfied, but exhausted 
almost to extinction. 

Even as a little child I was conscious that my father's 
appearance on these excursions was eccentric. He had 
a penchant for an enormous felt hat, which had once 
been black, but was now grey and rusty with age and 
salt. For some reason or other, he seldom could be 
persuaded to wear clothes of such a light colour and 
material as other sportsmen affect. Black broadcloth, 
reduced to an extreme seediness, and cut in ancient 
forms, was the favourite attire for the shore, and after 


being soaked many times, and dried in the sun on his 
somewhat portly person, it grew to look as if it might have 
been bequeathed to him by some ancient missionary long 
marooned, with no other garments, upon a coral island. 
His ample boots, reaching to mid-thigh, completed his 
professional garb, and when he was seen, in full sunlight, 
skimming the rising tide upon the sands, he might have 
been easily mistaken for a superannuated working shrimper. 

Our excursions were usually made to points a little 
beyond the reach of the amateur, but sometimes we crossed 
parties of collectors, in dainty costumes, such as Leech 
depicted, with pails or baskets, and we would smile and 
nudge each other at the reflection that they little suspected 
that the author of TJie Aqtiariurn was so near them. On 
one occasion, I recollect, at Livermead, we came across a 
party of ladies, who were cackling so joyously over a 
rarity they had secured that our curiosity overcame our 
shyness, and we asked them what they had found. They 
named a very scarce species, and held it up to us to exa- 
mine. My father, at once, civilly set them right ; it was 
so-and-so, something much more commonplace. The 
ladies drew themselves up with dignity, and sarcastically 
remarked that they could only repeat that it zvas the 
rarity, and that " Gosse is our authority." 

My father was at his very best on these delightful 
excursions. His blood was healthily stirred by the exer- 
cise, by the eager instinct of the hunt. Extremely serious 
all the time, with his brows a little knitted, he was never- 
theless not at all formidable here, as he so often was at 
home. His broad face, blanched with emotion, as he arranged 
his little lens to bear in proper focus on a peopled eminence 
of wet rock, had no such terrors for me as it sometimes had 
when it rose, burdened with prophecy, from the pages of 
some book of exhortation. The excitement in the former 



case was one which I could share, and we were happy so 
long as no stranger intermeddled with our joy. But the 
discovery of some other collector installed on our hunting- 
field, or the advent of anybody to disturb us, was sufficient 
to throw a cloud over everything. If we could not escape, 
if we pushed on in vain into a district of wilder and more 
slippery rocks and deeper pools, if the unconscious enemy 
persisted in dogging our footsteps, then the spell was 
broken, and home we trudged with empty jars, or with a 
harvest but half garnered. 

Most interesting of all were the dredging excursions in 
Tor Bay, but my memories of them are much more frag- 
mentary. These were frequent through the course of 1858, 
but after that year my father scarcely ever ventured on the 
water. During that last season, Charles Kingsley was 
several times our companion. The naturalists would hire 
a small trawler, and work up and down, generally in the 
southern part of the bay, just outside a line drawn north 
and south, between Hope's Nose and Berry Head. I think 
that Kingsley was a good sailor ; my father was a very 
indifferent one, and so was I ; but when the trawl came up, 
and the multitudinous population of the bottom of the 
bay was tossed in confusion before our eyes, we forgot our 
qualms in our excitement. I still see the hawk's eyes of 
Kingsley peering into the trawl on one side, my father's 
wide face and long set mouth bent upon the other. I well 
recollect the occasion (my father's diary gives me the date, 
August II, 1858) when, in about twenty fathoms outside 
Berry Head, we hauled up the first specimen ever observed 
of that exquisite creature, the diadem anemone, Bunodes 
coronata ; its orange-scarlet body clasping the whorls of a 
living Ttirritella shell, while it held in the air its purple 
parapet crowned with snow-white spiky tentacles. 

When the bi-monthly parts were bound up, the Acii- 



nologia Britannica formed a large and handsome volume, 
copiously illustrated with coloured plates of all the known 
British species and most of the varieties. The text is 
constructed on the lucid and elaborated system consecrated 
to exact manuals of this kind by the tradition of Yarrell's 
British Birds. The figures of the various sea-anemones 
are extremely accurate in form, size, and colour, and have 
but one artistic fault, namely, the want of natural grouping 
in the plate. In order to secure perfect exactitude, my 
father drew and coloured each specimen separately, and cut 
out his figure and gummed it on to its place in the com- 
pound illustration. Some of the individual figures suffer 
from the hard line which surrounds them, the result of this 
composite treatment of the full-page plates. The intro- 
duction, a minute description of the organization of the 
sea-anemones, and in particular of their unique and extra- 
ordinary "teliferous" system, has been regarded as the 
most sustained piece of original writing of a technically 
scientific character which Philip Gosse has left behind him. 
His anatomical statements in this preface are exceedingly 
minute, and are given almost wholly on the authority of 
his own dissections and observations, but they have never 
been superseded. 

While this important work was slowly drawn to a 
conclusion, Philip Gosse occupied his leisure with a volume 
of a more ephemeral nature. Evenings at the Microscope, 
.which appeared in 1859. This was a popular introduction 
to the study of microscopy. The text of the Actinologia 
was finished in June, 1859, although it did not appear 
in final book form until January of the next year. But 
almost as soon as the letterpress was off his hands, my 
father turned to the composition of a book which had long 
occupied his thoughts, a volume dealing exclusively 
with the aesthetic aspects of zoology. " In my many 


years' wanderings through the wide field of natural history," 
he wrote in March, i860, "I have always felt toward it 
something of a poet's heart, though destitute of a poet's 
genius. As Wordsworth says : — 

" * To me the meanest flower that blows can give 
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.' " 

In The Poetry of Natural History (a title afterwards 
changed to TJie Romance) he sought to paint a series of 
pictures, the reflection of scenes and aspects in nature, 
selecting those which had peculiarly the power of 
awakening admiration, terror, curiosity, and pleasure in 
his own breast. To the composition of this volume he 
gave unusual care, and it remains, perhaps, the nearest 
approach to an English classic of any of Philip Gosse's 
writings. When the author repeats the experiences of 
others, the style is sometimes a little otiose ; but where 
he dwells on what has personally pleased or moved him, 
where he narrates his own experiences and chronicles his 
personal emotions, the pages of this first series of TJie 
Romance of Natural History preserve a charm which may 
never wholly evaporate. The editions of this book have 
been very numerous, and after a lapse of thirty years I 
believe that it is still in print, and enjoys a steady sale. 

One chapter of this book, the final one, attracted more 
notice than all the rest put together, and excited, indeed, a 
positive furoje. This was the chapter entitled "The 
Great Unknown," in which Philip Gosse started the 
suggestion that the semi-mythic marine monster, whose 
name was always cropping up in the newspapers, the 
famous sea-serpent, was perhaps a surviving species allied 
to the gigantic fossil Eiialiosauria of the lias, and, in short, 
a marine reptile of large size, of sauroid figure, with turtle- 
like paddles. He judged it to be a sort of plesiosaurus, 


some twelve or fifteen feet in length ; and one of the 
illustrations of TJie Romance of Natural History was a 
conjectural drawing of the living "sea-serpent," constructed 
on the Enaliosaurian hypothesis. In the body of the book 
he gave a searching analysis of the more or less vague 
reports made by unscientific, but apparently honest persons, 
who had seen " the sea-serpent " from ship-board, and he 
strove to show that all these stories, taken in combination, 
tended to point conclusively to the existence of such a 
survival as he suggested. 

The theory was worked out with great fullness, and the 
ingenuity of a special pleader. The naturalists followed 
it wath amusement and interest. Darwin was by no means 
inclined to reject it, as a very possible hypothesis, but 
Professor Owen hotly contested it in favour of a theory of 
his own, that the " sea-serpent " would really prove to be a 
very large seal. It is rather odd that after thirty years 
the question should still be left wholly unanswered, 
especially as vague reports of a monster seen in mid-ocean 
continue occasionally to reach the papers. I am not aware 
that any suggestion more tenable than my father's has yet 
been propounded, and more extraordinary things have 
been laughed at when they were first foreshadowed and 
have ultimately proved to be true. Considering the stir 
that was made about this "sea-serpent" disquisition when 
it was originally published, it is not a little surprising that 
fifteen or twenty years later a popular writer on science 
should have had the effrontery to steal the whole thing, 
plesiosatLviis hypothesis, examination of evidence, and even 
the very words of Philip Gosse's arguments, and to put it 
forth as a little theory of his own. The perpetrator 
survived my father, by a strange coincidence, only a few 
days, and as he is dead, I need not mention his name. 
The Romance of Natural History was not published 


until Christmas, i860, but it was finished in the preceding 
March. My father had now for three years been settled 
in the west, and he was growing more and more, as he 
expressed it himself, a " troglodyte," a dweller in a cave. 
The composition of the Actinologia Britannica had forced 
him into correspondence with a large circle of strangers, 
and had kept his human sympathies alive. But after the 
publication of that work, a kind of inertia began to creep 
over him, and he dropped his correspondents one by one. 
Even Charles Kingsley, with whom, he had enjoyed so 
long and close communion of interests, seemed to lose hold 
over him. His household consisted, at this time, of his 
aeed mother, whom he had brought down into Devonshire 
in March, 1858 ; his little son ; and Miss Andrews, a lady 
who undertook the housekeeping for the trio. 

On February 28 old Mrs. Gosse died, at the age of eighty. 
She had been bodily transplanted, with all her furniture, 
pictures, and knick-knacks, to an apartment fitted up as 
closely as possible to resemble her own old room in the Poole 
house half a century before. She remained, until near the 
last, in full possession of her intelligence, rugged, vehement, 
slightly bewildered, filled with respect for her son, and recog- 
nisant of his kindness, yet pathetically remote from all his 
interests. While she was still able, on his arm, to creep 
out a little in the sunshine, she visited his new tropical 
fern-house, lately fitted up in the Sandhurst garden. The 
little conservatory was a great success ; in the moist hot 
air the transparent traceries of the delicate fronds formed 
an exquisite feathery vault, on either side and above the 
visitor. " I wonder," she said, after gazing round, " that 
you care to keep a parcel of fern ; " and she turned away. 
To her the fairy adiautinns and aspleiiiuins were no more 
than specimens of that wide waste of " fern," of bracken, 
which the open moors of Dorsetshire presented in such 


abundance. I remember that I was conscious of these 
blunt traits in my grandmother, and conscious, too, of my 
father's grave and unaltering attitude of respectful con- 
sideration to her. But we were a solitary family. For 
hours and hours, my grandmother would be sitting at her 
patchwork, silent, in her padded chair ; my father, almost 
motionless, in his study below her ; and I, equally silent, 
though not equally still, free to wander whither I would in 
house and garden, so that I disturbed none of the penates 
of the cloister and the hearth. 

In the autumn of i860 a very happy and wholesome 
change was made in the tenour of our existence. My 
father became acquainted with a lady from the eastern 
counties, who was staying at Torquay. This was Miss Eliza 
Brightwen, whom he married at Frome, in Somerset, on 
December 18 of that same year. This lady happily sur- 
vives, and it would not be becoming for me to dwell here 
on the circumstances which attended her married life. 
But, when her eye reaches this page in the biography of 
one so dear to us both, she will forgive me if I record, on 
behalf of the dead, as on my own behalf, our deep sense 
of gratitude, and our tender recognition of her tact and 
gentleness and devotion through no less than thirty years. 
It is of my step-mother, of that good genius of our house, 
of whom I think every time I turn the pages oi Adonais — 

" What softer voice is hushed over the dead ? 

Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown ? 

If it be she, who, gentlest of the wise, 

Taught, soothed, loved, honoured, the departed one; 

Let me not vex with inharmonious sighs 

The silence of that heart's accepted sacrifice." 

The year 186 1 was the last in which my father retained 
his old intellectual habits and interests unimpaired. There 



was, even, a revival of the scientific spirit, a fresh response 
to the instinct of the observer. His principal literary work 
was a second series of The Romance of Natural History, 
carried forth, rather too hastily, in consequence of the extra- 
ordinary popularity of the first. It was issued in Novem- 
ber, and sold well, but not nearly so well as its predecessor. 
The book suffers from the usual fate of continuations. We 
feel that the first series was produced because the authpr 
had something which he must say, the second because he 
must say something. The most interesting and important 
chapter was that on " The Extinct," in which the author 
dwells on the death of species, on the disappearance of the 
mylodon, the Irish elk, the aepyornis, the dodo, and the 
great auk. In the section on " Mermaids," he tried to 
repeat the success of his sensational chapter on the " Sea- 
Serpent," and suggested the possibility that the northern 
seas may yet hold some form of mammal, uncatalogued 
by science, which, if guiltless of green hair and a looking- 
glass, may yet ultimately prove to be the prototype of the 
mermaid. He had, however, no such definite hypothesis 
to produce as the old plesiosaurus one, and the public 
imagination declined to be greatly stirred about mermaids. 
In the autumn of 1861 Philip Gosse returned with one 
of his spasmodic bursts of zeal to the accurate study of the 
rotifera. His successive monographs on Stephanoceros, 
on the Floscularidse, and on the Melicertida^ appeared in 
the Popular Science Review in the course of 1862, and 
supplemented the discoveries he had made and reported 
twelve years before. In these papers he began a general 
account of the whole class of the Rotifera, arranged 
according to a classification of his own ; but the Popular 
Science Review came to an end, and the work was never 
completed. This important fragment of a history of the 
Rotifera is constantly referred to in the great work pub- 


lished by Hudson and Gosse a quarter of a century later. 
It only includes the three great families of the Floscularidae, 
the Melicertidae, and the Notommatina ; but it is almost a 
classic as regards those sections of the class. 

The next year was the first for twenty years in which 
Philip Gosse was not actively employed in literary work. 
It was a season of sudden transition ; his tastes, his intel- 
lectual habits, underwent a complete change. He ceased, 
almost entirely, to concentrate his attention on marine 
forms. He abandoned his long-loved mistress, zoology, 
and in exchange he began to devote himself to astronomy 
and to botany. Both of these new interests were awakened 
in April, 1862 — the former in consequence of the publication 
in the Times of some observations regarding coloured 
stars which greatly excited his imagination ; the latter 
through seeing Lord Sinclair's collection of tropical 
orchids. He began, with his accustomed energy, to devote 
himself to these novel interests, and he built an orchid- 
house, in which he presently collected and arranged a very 
valuable collection of these singular and fascinating plants. 
He imported them from the tropics on his own account, 
and in October, 1862, the first of many consignments 
arrived, in the shape of a rough assortment of orchids from 
the forests of Brazil. 

Once more he was persuaded to take up the pen in 
1863. As a popular illustrated magazine of quite a new 
class. Good Words was just then at the height of a well- 
deserved popularity. Dr. Norman Macleod had frequently 
invited Philip Gosse to contribute, but without avail ; until 
in the first days of 1863, being in South Devon, he called 
at Sandhurst, and did not leave until my father had 
undertaken to write a serial for the magazine, a series of 
consecutive papers, to cover a whole year, describing 
month by month, in a sort of sea-shepherd's calendar, 


what work a naturalist could undertake at each season on 
the shore. These papers were to be illustrated by at least 
three plates in each number, enj^raved in black and white 
in the pages of Good Words, but originally executed in 
Philip Gosse's most exquisite style, in water-colours. This 
serial was entitled A Year at the Shore, and the first 
instalment appeared in the magazine in January, 1864, 
running through the entire year. These papers were very 
happily written, quite in the old enchanting style of the 
DevonsJiire Coast and TJie Aquarium, with the freshness of 
that contented and wholesome period. They were full of 
practical advice to persons engaged in zoological collec- 
tion ; and they proved, so he was constantly assured, very 
stimulating to the readers of the magazine. 

His orchids largely occupied Philip Gosse's spare 
moments in the course of 1863, and in the autumn he 
was corresponding a good deal with Charles Darwin, to 
whom he had communicated in June some observations he 
had made on the strange and morbid-looking blossoms of 
the StanJiopea. From this correspondence I select his two 
earliest letters, and the replies received from the eminent 
biologist. They will be of interest, perhaps, to others 
than botanists, and are now for the first time published. 

P. H. GossE to Charles Darwin. 

"Sandhurst, May 30, 1863. 
"My dear Sir, 

" Will you kindly vouchsafe me a little word 
"of help .^ With your charming book before me, I have 
" been trying to fertilize the orchids of my little collec- 
" tion, as they flower. With some I succeed, with others 
" there is difficulty. Let me tell you of the present ' fix.' 
" StanJiopea oculata opened four great blooms on 
" Thursday ; to-day they begin to flag, and I delay no 


"longer to impregnate. I reach down your book, turn 
"to your figure at p. 179, and recognize the parts well 
"enough. Then, with a toothpick, I lift the anther 
" and out come the pollinia, very well depicted by you 
"at p. 185, Fig. C, except that in this my species the 
" pollinia masses are much larger in proportion to the 
" viscid disc. The disc is viscid enough, and I carry the 
" whole on a toothpick. Now I want to find where to 
" deposit it. I take for granted that it is in the hollow 
" (marked a in my sketch), which is the stigma. But 
" there is no viscosity there, nor anywhere near, up or 
"down, not the slightest; and I cannot get the pollen 
" to adhere. How can this plant be fertilized ? And how 
" would any insect do it 1 And what would an insect 
" be about to touch the tip of this isolated projecting 
" column } Supposing the great bee, or Scolia, or what 
" not, wants to get at the hollow hypochil (though I 
" don't find any honey there^, he would alight on the 
" epichil (whose surface is already three-quarters of an 
"inch from the rostellum, and which, being movable, 
" would bend away still further), and creep between the 
" horns of the mesochil ; how thus could he touch the 
" anther ? and if he did, how could he lodge the pollen 
" on the stigma } And if he did, how could it stick, seeing 
" the place is not sticky ? 

" Do resolve me these doubts ; and believe me, 
" My dear sir, 

" Ever yours truly, 

" P. H. GosSE. 

" The disc at the end of the caudicle adheres to the 
" stigma, but the pollen masses project, and won't touch 
" it, though pressed against it with force." 


C. Darwin to P. H. Gosse. 

" Down, June 3, 1863. 
" My dear Sir, 

" It would give mc real pleasure to resolve your 
"doubts, but I cannot. lean give only suspicions and 
*• my grounds for them. I should think the non-viscidity 
" of the stigmatic hollow^ was due to the plant not living 
** under its natural conditions. Please see what I have 
" said on Acropera. An excellent observer, ]\Ir. J. Scott, 
" of the Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh, finds all that I 
"say accurate, but nothing daunted, he with the knife 
" enlarged the orifice, and forced in pollen-masses ; or 
" he simply stuck them into the contracted orifice 
" ivithoiU coming into contact with the stigmatic surface, 
"which is hardly at all viscid; when, lo and behold, 
"pollen tubes were emitted and fine seed capsules 
" obtained. This was effected with A cr opera Loddigesii ; 
"but I have no doubt that I have blundered badly about 
''A. hiteola. I mention all this because, as :\Ir. Scott 
"remarks, as the plant is in our hot-houses, it is quite 
"incredible it ever could be fertilized in its native land. 
" The whole case is an utter enigma to me. Probably 
" you are aware that there are cases (and it is one of the 
"oddest facts in physiology) of plants which under 
"culture have their sexual functions in so strange a 
" condition, that though their pollen and ovules are 
" in a sound state and can fertilize and be fertilized 
" by distinct but allied species, they cannot fertilize 
"themselves. Now, Mr. Scott has found this the case 
"with certain orchids, which again shows sexual dis- 
"turbance. He had read a paper at the Botanical 
" Society of Edinburgh, and I daresay an abstract which 
" I have seen will appear in the Gardener's Chronicle ; but 
" blunders have crept in in copying, and parts arc barely 


"intelligible. How insects act with your StanJwpea I 
"will not pretend to conjecture. In many cases I believe 
"the acutest man could not conjecture without seeing the 
" insect at worlc I could name common English plants 
** in this predicament But the musk orchis is a case in 
"point Since publishing, my son and myself have 
" watched the plant and seen the pollinia removed, and 
" where do you think they invariably adhere in dozens 
"of specimens? — always to the joint of the femur with 
"the trochanter of the first pair of legs, and nowhere 
"else. When one sees such adaptation as this, it would 
"be helpless to conjecture on the StanJwpea till we 
" know what insect visits it I have fully proved that 
" my strong suspicion was correct that with many of our 
" English orchids no nectar is excreted, but that insects 
"penetrate the tissues for it So I expect it must be 
" with many foreign species. I forgot to say that if you 
" find that you cannot fertilize any of your exotics, take 
" pollen from some allied form, and it is quite probable 
" that will succeed Will you have the kindness to look 
"occasionally at your bee ophrys near Torquay, and 
"see v/hether pollinia are ever removed. It is my 
" greatest puzzle. Please read what I have said on it, 
" and on O. arachnites. I have since proved that the 
" account of the latter is correct I wish I could have 
" given you better information. 

" My dear sir, 

" Yours sincerely, 

" Charles Darwin. 
" P.S. — If the flowers of the StanJwpea are not too 
"old, remove pollen masses from their pedicels, and 
" stick them with a little liquid pure gum to the stigmatic 
"cavity. After the case of the Acropera, no one can 
" dare positively say that they would not act." 


P. H. GossE to C. Darwix. 

" Sandhurst, June 4, 1S63. 

** My dear Sir, 

" I am exceedingly obliged for your kind and 
**full reply. Will the following additional facts throw 
'* any light on the matter ? 

"The four flowers of Stcitiliopca oculatci became 
"thoroughly withered and flaccid by 1st inst., the 4th 
"day after opening ; yet I allowed them to remain till 
** this morning, when I cut off the raceme just before I 
" received your letter. As one of the germens (and this 
" one of those that I had tried to impregnate) came away 
" with a touch, I took it as certain that no impregnation 
*' had taken place ; and so threw the whole on the rubbish 
"heap without further examination. But, on reading 
'* your remarks, I thought I would examine them again ; 
" chiefly to see if, by piercing the stigmatic surface, which 
"had been so perfectly dry, I could find any viscosity 
" within. Looking first at one of those to which I had 
"affixed the pollen masses by means of their viscid disk, 
" I was surprised to see they were half imbedded in a 
"mass of viscous fluid. The other which I had treated 
"was in precisely the same condition ; the viscum having 
*' exuded copiously, and oozing in a great globule, when 
" I used pressure with my thumb and finger lower down 
" the column. Let this, then, be fact the first, that though 
" no viscum be visible at first on the stigma, it issues 
" copiously after the Jioiver has faded, from the interior, 
'* at the extreme point of the rostellum. 

" But secondly : A day or two after my attempt at 
** impregnation (^which afiected only tico oi the four 
"flowers\I was surprised to see the pollinia of one of the 
*' UN to tn'//fd i\o\\crs adhering to the point of one of the 


"ivory-like horns of the mesochil. I wondered, but 
"could not account for it, as I felt sure I had not acci- 
" dentally detached and attached them in such a manner, 
"while operating on the others. But, just now, in my 
"examination of the faded spike, I observed, not only 
" that the pollinia of that flower remained still on the tip 
" of the horn, but that one of the horns of the other un- 
" touched flower has lifted its own anther, and carries 
"the pollinia in triumph on its point. If this is acci- 
" dental, it is surely a remarkable coincidence. But it 
" suggests to me the following hypothesis : — That the 
"movable lip of this curious flower, agitated by the 
" wind, brings the tips of the horns now and then into 
" contact with the rostellum, so as to lift the anther, and 
"carry away the pollinia by touching the viscid disk. 
" That as soon as the viscum exudes from the stigmatic 
"cavity and spreads over its surface, similar agitations 
" of the lip would cause the pollinia to swing across the 
" stigma, and brushing the exuded globule of viscum, to 
"adhere. If this is tenable, here is a use for these extra- 
" ordinary horns. Tell me what you think of the thought. 
" I regret that I was so hasty in cutting away the faded 
" spike ; possibly, with a little more obstetric manipula- 
"tion, or even an agitation of the flowers with my breath, 
" I might have succeeded in impregnating, and in settling 
"the point. 

" If my hypothesis should be correct, will it not show 
"that StanJiopeadJi{or6.?> another example of self-fertiliza- 
" tion } For the horns of any blossom can rifle only its 
''own anther, and can deposit on only its own stigma. 
" But what an unexpected mode of proceeding ! I enclose 
"you one of the pollinia carried on the horn. 

"Yours faithfully, 

" P. H. GosSE." 


•' C. Darwin to P. H. Gosse. 

"Down, June 5, 1863. 

" My dear Sir, 

" If you would prove the truth of your hypo- 
" thesis, it would be extremely curious and quite new. 
" It certainly seems very suspicious you having found 
"the pollinium attached to the horns of the labellum so 
" often. I am prepared to believe anything of these 
"wonderful productions. But if I were in your place, I 
" would wait till I could observe another spike, and then 
" you would, I have no doubt, definitely prove the case. 
"Why I should act so is because I have so often noticed 
"the pollinia removed in an unexpected manner. Dr. 
" Hooker published in PJiil. Transactions that Listera 
"ejected its pollinia to a distance, which is an entire 
"mistake. The conjecture (and it was founded on 
" nothing but despair) occurred to me that the vibrating 
" labellum in Acropera might remove the pollinia ; but 
" Dr. Hooker tried on a living plant and failed to make 
" it act. 

" Nevertheless your case may prove quite true ; the 
" dried labellum seems very thin, as if it had been flexible. 
" It is really a very curious case. I have some Stan- 
" hopes in my stove (I know not what species), but I fear 
" they will not flower this summer : should they do so, I 
"will observe them and communicate the result to you. 
"If you thought fit to communicate your facts now to 
" any periodical, it might induce others to observe ; but 
" many persons are such bad observers that I doubt 
" whether you would profit by it. 

" I would suggest to you to get to know (if you do 
" not already do so) the appearance of the viscid matter 
"from the stigma which abounds with isolated elonirated 


"cells, called by Brown utrlculi : these I find never 
" present in viscid matter of rostellum ; and when these 
" parts are close, it is important to distinguish them. 
" You could have then probably told whether the fluid 
"which exuded from your decaying flowers was a true 
" stigmatic secretion. I heartily hope your pretty little 
" discovery will prove good and true. 
" My dear sir, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" C. Darwin." 

A month later my father notes that he has been busy 
" examining bee orchis for Darwin at Petit Tor," and send- 
ing him notes and drawings on Cyancea. Another interest- 
ing correspondence this autumn was with Lady Dorothy 
Nevill, who supplied him with ailanthus plants, and with 
a brood of caterpillars of Bombyx Cyiit/da, the exquisite 
Indian silkworm moth, whose sickle-shaped wings of clear 
apple-green, marked with pink moons and scimitars, 
emerged in due time, to our infinite delight, from cocoons 
of the pale Tussore silk. But in the next chapter I shall 
dwell more at length on the am.ateur pleasures which now 
began to absorb my father's extended leisure. 

In the course of 1864 my father collected some old 
papers and revised them, destining them to form a volume 
which he presently published under the title of Land and 
Sea. Of this book the first hundred pages were well 
worthy of preservation ; they contained the record of the 
author's stay twelve years previously on the picturesque 
island of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel. But some of the 
other sketches were rather trivial and diffusely told, besides 
possessing the disadvantage that they seemed like discarded 
chapters from other books, which indeed they were — The 
Ocean, A Naturalises Sojourn in Jamaica, and A Year 


at the Shore, all having supplied, from rejected or super- 
fluous sections, matter for chapters in Laud and Sea. 
The fact cannot be shirked that the author was becoming 
languid, inattentive to the form of what he published, and 
interested in matters outside the range of his professional 
work. By a curious coincidence, A Year at the Shore and 
Land and Sea were published in book form on the same 
day, January 24, 1865, and this may be taken as the date 
when Philip Gosse ceased to be a professional author. 


( 3o6 ) 



THE remainder of Philip Gosse's life, spent in extreme 
retirement in his house at St. Marychurch, does not 
present many features which are of striking interest to the 
general reader. I shall not attempt to follow chrono- 
logically the events of this calm quarter of a century. To 
give them a history would be to disturb their peaceful 
sequence, and to destroy their relation with those more 
stirring facts which have preceded them. A reflection of 
the even tenour of my father's existence will be found in 
the narrative which my step-mother, his sole constant 
companion, has been so kind as to prepare in the form of 
an appendix to this volume. After 1866, he came but 
once to London, in 1873, when he spent a day or two in 
town on business. On this occasion he visited Lloyd's 
great aquaria in the Crystal Palace, but they failed to 
interest him to any great extent. Since 1864 he had 
strangely ceased to feel any curiosity in invertebrate 
zoology. The first breath of revival in this direction was 
awakened by a letter of my own to him, in which I de- 
scribed to him some rarities which I had observed at the 
south point of the Lizard. He replied (August 5, 1874) : — 
"Years and years have passed since I saw any 
" actiniae living in profusion ; the ladies and the dealers 


"together have swept the whole coast within reach of 
"this place (St. Marychurch) as with a besom. Even 
'' Mcseiiibryanthcmum occurs only in wretched little 
"examples, few and far between. . . . From all that you 
" say, I imagine that the point of Cornwall and the Scilly 
" Isles, being beyond railways, would offer many a scene 
" such as you have beheld, rich to profusion in marine 
" zoology, and unriflcd by the rude hands of man ; and» 
"old as I am, I am stimulated to try. As soon as we 
"had read your letter, mother suggested whether we 
" might not run down ourselves for a few days ; and I 
"am not sure that we shall not put the posse in esse. 
" Please to give me a little more detail on the practical 
"aspects. . . . Could I reach the cleft knife-like point of 
" rock which you found so prolific in nivea and miniata ? 
" The pale-green anemone, with banded tentacles and a 
" Sagartia habit, which you found on the rock that you 
"reached by swimming — was not this Sagartia chryso- 
" spleniiim f This is a species which I have never seen. 
" Refer to plate vi. of Actinologia Britannica, and tell me 
"whether it was this. ... I am all agog as I read. 
"The case of the launce you found swallowed by an 
" Anthea is not without parallel in my own experience." 
It was only a flash in the pan, however ; in the next 
letter I was told that " even early September is no time for 
elderly persons to be away from home, in a wild remote 
country." T)ie real zoological awakening had not come. 

These years were not, however, in any sense quiescent. 
They were amply filled with amateur occupations — the 
cultivation of orchids and the study of astronomy being 
the most prominent. When Philip Gosse had passed sixty 
years of age, his health became settled, and he enjoyed 
life to a higher degree than perhaps ever before. On 
February i8, 1875, he wrote : — 


" Old age creeps sensibly upon me, and makes 
" its advance perceptible in many little ways ; yet, 
"though I have occasional reminders that I must be 
"cautious of overwork, I am remarkably free from 
"pains, and life is full of enjoyment to me. In many 
" things — in enthusiasm, in the zest with which I enter 
" into pursuits, in the interest which I feel in them, even 
" in the delight of mere animal existence, and the sense 
"of the beautiful around me — I feel almost a youth 
This sense of health and capacity for enjoyment in- 
creased as time went on, and the intellectual vigour was 
gradually turned back into the old professional channels. In 
November, 1875, after having wholly neglected the marine 
aquarium for fifteen years, he began to collect and keep sea- 
beasts in captivity once more. He commenced with nothing 
more ambitious than an old shallow flat-bottomed pan of 
brown earthenware, and for some time he was content to 
buy specimens from the men who made it their business to 
sell seaweeds and anemones to winter visitors at Torquay. 
But in February, 1876, he ceased to be satisfied with 
pleasures so tame to an old sportsman, and, armed with 
a new collecting-belt and his ancient water-proof boots, he 
sallied down to Petit Tor at the low spring tide, and began 
to search for himself in the fearless old fashion. This 
was the beginning of a revival in zoological enthusiasm, 
which steadily increased, and was sustained almost to the 
close of his life, culminating in his remarkable aftermath 
of scientific publications. He determined to establish at 
Sandhurst an aquarium of large size and on modern 
principles, and he was finally moved to undertake this 
project from the disappointment he experienced in failing 
to keep alive some specimens of the scarlet and yellow 
Balanophyllia in his earthen jars. On June 23 Mr. W. A. 


Lloyd and Mr. J. T. Carrini^ton, whom he had summoned 
to his aid, came down to St. Marychurch to make sug- 
gestions and plans for the tank, the main characteristic of 
which was to be that it should have a constant current, 
like those in the Crystal Palace. As it was spring tide, my 
father took his old friend from Oddicombe beach in a 
boat to the Bell Rock and to Maidencombe ; but, though 
they were out three hours, there was a tiresome swell, and 
they worked in the lovely gardens of red seaweed with 
but little success. 

Lloyd's visit had, however, its direct results. His eye 
was quick and his engineering sense prompt and astute. 
By his recommendation, Philip Gosse had a slate reservoir 
sunk to the level of the earth, in a coal-shed in his back 
garden. In this he stored two hundred and ten gallons of 
brilliant sea-water dipped at Oddicombe beach. In the 
roof over the kitchen was fixed another slate cistern of 
a hundred and twenty gallons, and an unused lumber-room 
was devoted to the reception of the show-tank, to hold 
fifty gallons, made of slate, with a half-inch plate-glass 
front. A glass pump and vulcanite pipes completed the 
establishment, which was fitted up under Lloyd's super- 
vision. When all was put together, an hour's pumping, 
once a week, was sufficient to lift the hundred and twenty 
gallons of sea-water from the reservoir into the cistern, 
whence it flowed by a pipe with a fine jet into the tank, 
at the regulated rate of about seventeen gallons a day, while 
a similar quantity flowed from the bottom of the tank into 
the reservoir, thus securing a constant circulation. 

The construction of this tank, which, after one or two 
slight hitches, worked in a most satisfactory manner, 
greatly revived Philip Gosse's interest in zoology. He 
began, once again, to haunt the shore, undeterred by the 
laborious exertion required, or by the exhausting climb up 


and down the cliffs which each visit to the beach entailed. 
Roundham Head, in the centre of Tor Bay, and Maiden- 
combe, half-way between Hope's Nose and the estuary of 
the Teign, were at this time his favourite hunting-grounds ; 
but he went even further afield, running down by boat to 
Prawle Point and Berry Head, or to the rocks that front 
the black creeks at the mouth of the Dart. Regardless of 
his sixty-seven summers, he would strip, on occasion, and 
work like a youth in the cold pools of the slate, balanced 
carefully on a slippery foothold of oar-weed or tulse. 
Here are some extracts taken at random from his journal 
of 1 8;6:— 

''August y. — I went to Dartmouth by earliest train, 
"intending to hire a sailing-boat to run down to the 
" Prawle. Old Jones, however, declared it to be im- 
" practicable, from wind and swell ; I therefore made him 
"pull me out to Black Rock, and thence to Combe Point. 
"Near this latter I obtained a group of the loveliest 
" Corynactis I ever saw ; the whole body and disc of 
"the richest emerald, the colour very positive and (so 
" to say) opaque, tentacles rich lilac-rose. Returning, 
" I examined some overhanging rocks near Compass 
" Cove. On one ledge of a yard square, I saw nearly 
"a dozen of white daisy-like anemones; but eighteen 
"inches below the surface, and thus beyond reach, 
" though easily procurable if the tide had been good, 
" but it was very poor. Near the same place I saw 
" others, and tried to get some, but failed. At length I 
"obtained two noble specimens of Sagartia sphyrodeta, 
" with bright orange disc. From a pool of fuci I had 
" dipped a rare prawn, which I would not keep, and a 
" number of Hippolyte varians. 

''November 3. — I wrote Harris yesterday to meet me 
" v/ith a boat this morning at 10.50. But on my arrival 


" at the beach, there was no one ; and so I scrambled 
"across to Babbicombe. There I found Thomas just 
"come in from fishing, who had been delegated by 
" Harris to take me. So he pulled me along shore to 
" Hope's Nose, and proved a very agreeable and service- 
" able young fellow, entering heartily into my wishes. 
" There were some good crevices just below the rifle 
" targets, and some at Black Head. Yet I got but little, 
" till Thomas suggested some little pools which he knew 
" to be rich on the islet called Flat Rock, about a mile 
" off Hope's Nose. I accordingly climbed the rock, and 
" soon found the rough leprous-barnacled surface hol- 
" lowed in dozens of little shallow pools, overspread 
"with fucus. The bottoms of these were studded with 
" numbers of the pretty Sagartia nivea, which I have not 
" seen for years. They were all burrowed in the honey- 
" combed limestone, and hard to chisel out ; however, I 
"obtained seven. In one pool there was a colony of 
'' Biinodes genimacea, unusually large ; I took three of 
"these. Many pools were still unexplored. I had pre- 
" viously taken a nice mass of the emerald variety of 
" Corytiactis viridis, and many good masses of fine 
" algae. The weather was mild, and fairly fine ; very 
" calm ; the sea smooth, and brilliantly clear. I enjoyed 
" the trip greatly." 

He made no pause through the depth of this winter, but 
collected on the shore during every fine day. December 
29 saw him stalking " an immense-disked \^Sagartia\ bellis 
versicolor'' under Oddicombe Point, and January i found 
him turning stones on the beach at Livermead. The re- 
fluent tide of his zoological ardour was at its height, nor 
can it be said to have slackened through the greater part 
of 1877. When he worked on the shore, Mrs. Gosse, as 
she will relate, was commonly his companion ; when he 


took sailing excursions, he often had the advantage of the 
company of Mr. Arthur Hunt, of Torquay, a young 
naturalist of knowledge and enthusiasm, who then pos- 
sessed a yacht, the Gannet, in which the friends undertook 
frequent scientific excursions, especially over the sandy 
Zostera-beds in Torbay, among the little archipelago 
which lies off Hope's Nose, at the mouth of Brixham 
Harbour, and off Berry Head. His letters of this period 
usually contain some pleasant reference to his beautiful 
tank and its inmates. For example (June ii, 1877), he 
writes : — 

" Have I told you of a young lobster, which, about 
" two months ago, I caught in Petit Tor great pool with 
"my fingers, after more than an hour's effort } He was 
" a beautiful fellow then, just six inches long, without 
" reckoning his claws ; but after a week or two he 
" sloughed one night, to my dismay next morning, for I 
" supposed the slough to be my pet dead, so perfect was 
"it in every member; but presently I saw the gentleman 
" in duplicate, safe ensconced in a dark corner, and at 
"least one-third longer. He is now very saucy and 
"fierce ; quite cock of the walk ; does me some damage 
" by killing and gnawing now and then one of his fellow- 
" captives ; but this I put up with, for he is such a beauty. 
" I have been out dredging several times lately again 
" with Arthur Hunt, who is very kind to me, urging me 
"to go out frequently, and putting his boat and two 
"dredges, and himself, and a boatman, at my entire 
" command, and then, forsooth, taking all as if / had 
" done him a great favour ! The worst of it is, I can't 
" stand any toss — old sailor as I am — without a rebellion 
" within. But the bottom of Torbay is so rich in zoology, 
" that it is worth the scraping ; and Hunt is himself a 
. " naturalist." 


In the course of 1878 a new hobby began to interfere a 
little with the exclusive interest in the marine aquarium. 
It was, more strictly speaking, his earliest hobby resusci- 
tated. He met with a French gentleman, resident in 
London, who made it his business to import fine exotic 
Lepidoptera in the pupa condition. It was nearly twenty 
years since, in response to a suggestion from Lady Dorothy 
Nevill, Philip Gosse had made a brief attempt to breed the 
great Indian moths. He first purchased a few chrysalids 
of continental butterflies, amongst others Papilio Poda- 
lirius, Thais Polyxena, and Lycceiia Tolas ; but he soon 
became chiefly interested in the great moths of America 
and India, the Satuniiado! and their allies. He writes 
(May 14, 1878) :— 

" You will perhaps recollect the great atlas moth in 
" the midst of the box of Chinese insects on the wall of 
"our breakfast-room. Well, I have a living cocoon of 
"this species, and of a number of others akin to it. 
" Two noble specimens have already been evolved, and 
"are preserved. Then I have eggs of several of the 
"species, from one set of which {Attaciis Yamma-mai of 
"Japan) I am now rearing beautiful caterpillars, on oak. 
" Some of these insects are North American, and were 
" objects of my desire and delight when I collected in 
" Canada and in Alabama ; and this casts an extra halo 
" around them. But their size and beauty make them 
" all very -charming. * Naturain expelles, tamen usque 
'''recurret! I am most thankful to say that God con- 
" tinues to me such health and buoyancy of spirits that I 
" enter into all these recreations with as much enthusiasm 
" as I felt forty years ago. And so does my beloved wife, 
" who adds tenfold to my enjoyment, both of work and 
*' play, by her hearty sharing of both, and an enjoyment as 
" keen as my own. Thus are we two happy old fogies." 


And again (June 26, 1878) : — 

" This purchase of a cocoon or two of SaturniadcB has 
"grown into a much greater enterprise than I antici- 
"pated. I am at last gratifying the desire of more than 
"five and forty years, namely, the rearing of some of 
" the very elite of the Lepidoptej'a. Yesterday I had the 
" beautiful male Purple Emperor evolved from a chrysalis, 
"reared from the caterpillar. Another will probably be 
"out to-night, a distinct species, closely allied. I have 
" now around me the larvcs^ attaining vast size and great 
" beauty, of many of the very principes of the moths ; 
"and several I have evolved from cocoon. One of the 
"very finest I ever saw was produced in great perfection 
" a few days ago ; I inclose you an accurately measured 
"paper-cutting of it. It is of exquisite delicacy; the 
"wings of the tenderest pea-green, merging into snow- 
" white at the body, and the front edge chocolate-purple. 
" It is the noble Tropcea selene of the Himalayan slopes. 
" These are samples which ought to make your mouth 
"water, if you retain any of your boyish enthusiasm." 
And again (April 7, 1879) : — 

" If you are still entomologist enough to know the 
"splendid Morphos, most lustrous, dazzling blue, great 
"butterflies of South America, you will like to know 
" that I have recently been accumulating a fine collection 
" of these and other tropical Lepidoptera ; including the 
" great OrnitJioptercB of Malasia, a large number of fine 
^' Papiliones, and half a dozen species or more of the 
" noblest of these Morphos, enough already nearly to 
" fill a cabinet of twenty-four drawers. They afford me 
"great delight, gratifying the yearnings of my earlier 
" years, which I never expected to gratify." 
During all this time, however, and in spite of all the 
incentives to intellectual labour which his pursuits gave 


him, Philip Gossc showed no inclination to take up the 
pen which had slipped from his fingers fifteen years before. 
It seemed now wholly improbable that he would ever 
resume authorship, but with the approach of his seventieth 
year this instinct also was reawakened. In Alarch, 1879, 
he published as a separate brochure a memoir on The 
Great Atlas Moth of India {Attacus Atlas), with a coloured 
plate of its transformations. In October of the same year 
he became a member of the Entomological Society, and in 
June, 1880, he printed a monograph on the velvet-black 
butterfly, with emerald bands and crimson spots, which 
swarms in the forests of Jamaica, Urania sloamis. This 
again was followed by a pamphlet on The Butterflies of 

These small memoirs were but the preliminaries to 
an entomological work of wide extent, demanding the 
expenditure of a great deal of leisure and laborious 
research. For a considerable time past the attention of 
Philip Gosse had been increasingly drawn to the singular 
forms and the variety of function of the prehensile appa- 
ratus employed in reproduction by the large butterflies 
which he had reared under his close personal observation. 
The only authority on this subject of the genital armature 
of the butterflies had been Dr. Buchanan White, who had 
expressed regret that he had been unable to examine any 
but European species. He had added : " It is much to be 
desired that some one, who has at his command a large 
collection of the butterflies of all regions, should investi- 
gate, more extensively than I have been able to do, the 
structure of the genital armature." My father had followed 
this recommendation, and in examining his great tropical 
specimens had discovered so much that was singular, and 
wholly new to science, that he became anxious to give 
publicity to his observations. He carried, moreover, his 


investigations to a length which no one who preceded him, 
not even Dr. White, had attempted to reach. 

Among the younger zoologists of the day, few of whom 
were personally known to my father, there was not one in 
whose discoveries and career he took a livelier interest than 
in those of Professor E. Ray Lankester, for whom, from 
his earliest publications, he had predicted a course of high 
distinction. For the judgment of this distinguished 
observer Philip Gosse entertained an unusual respect, and 
it was owing to his advice that the elder naturalist, in his 
seventy-second year, started upon a course of laborious 
investigations, which were not terminated until two years 
later. In April, 1881, on the very evening of a day which 
had been marked in white to the recluse by a visit from 
Professor Lankester, Gosse noted that, "encouraged by 
E. R. L., I have begun my monograph on t\\Q Pre he7ts ores'' 
In October of the same year he forwarded to Professor 
Huxley, for the consideration of the council of the Royal 
Society, the manuscript of his volume on The Clasping 
Organs ancillary to Generation in Certain Groups of the 
Lepidoptei-a, accompanied by nearly two hundred figures, 
exquisitely drawn under the microscope, illustrating these 
recondite organs with such an accuracy and delicate full- 
ness, that I have been assured that a query was raised 
on the council of the society as to the authorship of the 
drawings, which it was hardly possible to conceive had been 
made by a man of between seventy and eighty. An 
abstract of the memoir was presently read at the Royal 
Society by Professor Huxley, in the absence of the author. 
There arose, however, a difficulty regarding its being 
published in full in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, 
the subject being excessively remote from general interest, 
even to savants, and the illustrations, which my father 
considered essential to the intelligibility of the monograph, 


threatening to be very expensive to reproduce. My 
father, however, met with great kindness on this occasion 
from his younger coiifrh'es. The manuscript was finally, 
in March, 1882, submitted by Professor Michael Foster to 
the council of the Linnaean Society for publication, the 
Royal Society offering £^0 towards the expense of printing 
and engraving. The Linnaean Society, thereupon, waiving 
their usage of not publishing papers which had been read 
elsewhere, undertook to bring it out, and, to my father's 
extreme gratification, this child of his old age was finally 
issued in May, 1883, as a handsome quarto, in the form of 
the Transactions of the Linnaean Society, and with all his 
plates carefully reproduced in lithography. 

Philip Gosse had made it an invariable practice, in 
advancing life, to qualify every public expression of his 
views on natural phenomena by an attribution of the 
beautiful or wonderful condition to the wisdom of the 
Divine Creator. He had done so in his monograph on 
The Clasping Organs ancillary to Generatioji, appending to 
that memoir a paragraph embodying those pious reflec- 
tions which his conscience conceived to be absolutely de 
rigtieur. Rightly or wrongly, these sentiments appeared 
to the council of the Linnaean Society to be out of place 
in a very abstruse description of certain organs, which are 
curious, but neither beautiful nor calculated to inspire 
ideas of a particularly elevating nature. In sending to 
him the proof of his memoir, the secretary was directed 
to ask the author, in making some other trifling excisions, 
to be kind enough to put his pen through this little 
passage also. To the surprise of every one concerned, he 
absolutely declined to do this. The council was then 
placed in a most embarrassing position. A great deal of 
money had already been spent, and here was a paragraph 
which could not be issued, by the rules of the society, 


that forbid all contentious matter on the subject of 
reh'gion, and which yet the author was prepared to sacrifice 
the whole volume rather than resign. The knot was 
cleverly untied by Professor E. Ray Lankester, who sug- 
gested that it should be represented to Mr. Gosse that if 
an atheist should wish, in future, to defend his atheism in 
the Transactions of the society, the council could scarcely 
forbid him to do so, if it had yielded to a Christian writer 
the privilege of defending his faith in Christianity. My 
father saw the force of the argument, and gave way, 
though with great unwillingness. 

Meanwhile, he had for some years been engaged in a 
course of studies highly gratifying to his earliest instincts, 
and absorbing in its demands upon his attention. In an 
earlier chapter of this biography I have described the 
manner in which the observation of the Rotifera, or wheel- 
animalcules, became a passion with my father. On the 
whole this may, perhaps, be considered as having been the 
branch of zoological study which had fascinated him longest 
and absorbed him most. In spite, however, of the import- 
ance of the discoveries which he had made, in the course of 
his life, in this neglected province of zoology, he had never 
found an opportunity of publishing them, except partially 
and obscurely. He retained, in his portfolios, the buried 
treasures of half a century in the form of unpublished text 
and plates. Since Philip Gosse had corresponded with 
Dr. Arlidge, and had lent his help to the publication of 
the latest (i86i) edition of Pritchard's History of the 
Infusoria, hardly any use whatever had been made of his 
vast storehouse of information. 

Since 1867 Dr. C. T. Hudson had been at work on the 
same subject, independently collecting materials towards a 
final work on the little known and yet charming Rotifera. 
In 1879 Dr. Hudson was advised by Professor E. Ray Lan- 


kester, who was aware of the great mass of data collected 
by my father, to place himself in relation with the latter. 
He did so, and the elder naturalist, with complete unselfish- 
ness, hastened to lay all that he possessed at the disposal 
of the younger. It was, indeed, a singular gratification 
to Philip Gosse, at this the close of his career, to find 
his work appreciated, and to be able to help one who 
was progressing along the same little-trodden path as 
himself. Dr. Hudson was the latest and one of the 
warmest of my father's friends, and the compilation of 
his share of the two splendid volumes on The Rotifera, 
which have their combined names on the title-page, became 
the principal, as it was the most delightful, occupation of 
my father from 1879 until the publication in 1886. The 
issue of the final periodical part of this work was greeted 
with a melancholy satisfaction by my father, who recog- 
nized very clearly that the real labour of his lifetime was 
closed. He was in his seventy-seventh year, and he was 
thoroughly conscious that he could never again hope to start 
another undertaking of this serious nature. Yet he was 
delighted to handle these volumes, the children of his old 
age, and to realize that he had lived to complete the pub- 
lication of all his main discoveries. In reply to the objec- 
tions of a member of his family, who cavilled at the fact 
that more prominence was given on the title-page of The 
Rotifera to the younger than to the elder naturalist, the 
latter replied as follows : — 

"Your judgment will probably be modified, when you 
" are better acquainted with the facts. My position on the 
*' title-page was the subject of much discussion between 
" Dr. Hudson and me ; and I chose decisively that 
" * assisted by P. H. Gosse ' should be the mode, contrary 
" to his luish. He has, throughout, been most lovingly 
*' considerate of my wishes, and only too ready to put 


" me into prominence and honour. The labour, the 
" plan, the publication, all the drudgery, have been his ; 
"so that to put his name prominent is only the merest 
"justice. We have worked all through in the fullest 
"harmony. Every line that he has written has been 
" subjected to my severe criticism ; and, with hardly an 
" exception, all my amendments he has implicitly adopted. 
" I must say I admire very warmly the introduction." 
During the years in which the volumes on The Rotifera 
were being prepared, my father exerted himself in an in- 
tellectual direction with the zeal of a young professional 
man at the height of his career. He. was up at five or 
six in the morning, and often spent eight or nine hours in 
uninterrupted work at the microscope, merely breaking 
through it so far as to come down from his study with 
knitted and abstracted brows, to swallow a hasty meal in 
silence, and then rush up again. This excess of intellectual 
work, combined with his neglect of exercise, seemed, in the 
face of it, to be extremely imprudent in a man approaching 
eighty. But we could not, at that time, very distinctly 
observe any harm done to his health, and in some ways 
the ardent occupation seemed to keep him well. As soon 
as the manuscript had finally gone to the printers, how- 
ever, early in 1886, he suffered from a nervous attack of an 
alarming nature, which appeared to point to overwork. 
Nevertheless, his great elasticity of constitution enabled 
him, as it seemed, entirely to recover ; and Dr. Hudson, 
like a housewife in a fairy story, who finds fresh labour for 
her giant to perform, set his colleague on the mitigated 
work of helping to prepare a Supplement. This was even- 
tually published, in 1889, by Dr. Hudson, and contained 
the description of one hundred and fifty additional species, 
sixty of these being new British forms discovered by Philip 
Gosse. It completed the great work, by describing every 


known foreign rotifer, as well as all the British species 
which had been discovered since the original work went to 
press in 1885. This Supplement my father did not live to 
see published, and Dr. Hudson alludes to that fact, in his 
preface, in these graceful and generous terms : — 

"The natural pleasure, with which I see the observa- 
'• tions and studies of thirty-five years thus brought to a 
"successful conclusion, has been indeed marred by the 
"sad loss of my deeply lamented friend. His great 
" knowledge and experience, his keen powers of observa- 
" tion, his artistic skill, and his rare gift of description 
"are known to all, and have made him facile princeps 
" among the writers on the rotifera ; but it is only those 
"who, like myself, were privileged to know him inti- 
•' mately, that are aware how much more he was than an 
" enthusiastic naturalist. I shall never forget the hearty 
"welcome (when I first met him) that the veteran gave 
" to the comparatively unknown student, or the gracious 
"kindness with which he subsequently placed at my 
"disposal his beautiful unpublished drawings and his 
" ample notes. 

" A happy chance had led our observations to differing 
" parts of the same subject, and our united labours have 
"produced, in consequence, the now completed work ; 
"but I shall ever count it a still happier chance that gave 
" me not only such a colleague, but also such a friend." 
So late as the last autumn of his life my father continued 
his occasional rambles on the shore with hammer and col- 
lecting basket. September 19, 1887, will long be memo- 
rable to his family as the latest of these delightful excursions. 
He spent several hours of that day upon the rocks in the 
centre of Goodrington Sands, surrounded by his wife, his 
son and son's wife, and his three grandchildren— a compact 
family party. No one on that brilliant afternoon would 



have guessed that the portly man with a grizzled beard, 
who stood ankle-deep in the salt pools, bending over the 
treasuries of the folded seaweeds, lustily shouting for a 
chisel or a jar as he needed it, and striding resolutely 
over the slippery rocks, was in his seventy-eighth year, and 
still less that his vitality was so soon to decline. To the 
rest of the family, who remained at Paignton, he wrote the 
next day from his own house : — 

" Many thanks for making yesterday so happy a day 
" to me, though I felt somewhat unwell last night, pos- 
" sibly from exhaustion. It was delightful to see around 
" me your dear selves and the sweet eager children 
" engaged in diligent and successful search for my grati- 
" fication. When you all come over again, you will 
" think the tank a busy scene worth looking at. For, 
" in addition to our captures of yesterday, there have 
'* arrived four new sea-horses and several very fine and 
" large troglodytes and bellis, all in capital condition. 
" The Hippocampi I poured into the tank in a moment ; 
"the SagarticB carefully seriatim this morning. And, 
'* as I say, the tout ensemble is worth looking at. 

" Of our Goodrington lot of yesterday, the crabs are 
" climbing about the stone, the long pipe-fish glides like 
" a slender brown cord through the water, the little 
"black-and-white cottits scuttles about, and I just now 
" saw the goby creep out from under one of the stones ; 
"while the crimson weeds and the green ulva give 
"brilliant colour to the picture. The scarlet and blue 
" Galathea lobster I don't see this morning, but no doubt 
" he's all right. The children will be interested in these 
" details." 

In October my father and mother^ under the stimulus 
of a visit from the Rev. F. Howlett, Rector of Tisted, 
resumed their astronomical researches on clear nights, 


" We are busy," he writes 011 the 22nd, "among the fixed 
stars, as we were more than twenty years ago, especially 
hunting for the charming double stars. There are no 
planets visible in the evenings now." No definite appre- 
hensions crossed our minds, although he was occasionally 
more feeble and notably more silent than of old. But near 
the close of the year 1887, while he was examining the 
heavens late one very cold night, a newly purchased portion 
of the telescope apparatus became dislodged and fell into 
the garden ; the agitation produced by this little accident, 
and some exposure in leaning out to see where the lens had 
fallen, brought on an attack of bronchitis, and although this 
particular complaint was overcome, he was never well again. 
Yet, through the months of December and January, 
there seemed nothing alarming in his condition. He was 
kept indoors, but not in bed, and he was as busy as ever, 
writing, drawing, and reading. One of the last books which 
he read with unabated interest was the Life of Dariuin. 
All went on much in the old style until March, 1888, when 
a disease of the heart, which must for a long while past 
have been latent, rather suddenly made itself apparent. 
Under the repeated attacks of this complaint, his brain, his 
spirits, his manifold resources of body and mind, sank lower 
and lower, and the five months which followed were a 
period of great weariness and almost unbroken gloom. 
After a long and slow decay, the sadness of which was 
happily not embittered by actual pain, he ceased to breathe, 
in his sleep, without a struggle, at a few minutes before 
one o'clock on the morning of August 23, 1888. He had 
lived seventy-eight years, four months, and seventeen 
days. He was buried, near his mother, in the Torquay 
Cemetery, attended to the grave by a large congregation 
of those who had known and respected him during his 
thirty years' residence in the neighbourhood. 

( 324 ) 



IN the preceding chapters I have not, I trust, so com- 
pletely failed as to have left upon the reader's mind 
no image of what manner of man my father was. But the 
portrait is still a very imperfect one, and must be com- 
pleted by some touches which it is exceedingly difficult to 
give with justice. I have hitherto dwelt as slightly as 
possible upon the religious features of his character, that 
I might not disturb the thread of a narrative which is 
mainly intended for the general public. But no portrait 
of his mind would be recognizable by those who knew 
Philip Gosse best, which should relegate to a second place 
.^^his religious convictions and habits of thought. They were 
•peculiar to himself, they were subject throughout his life 
to practically no modifications, and they were remarkable 
for their logical precision and independence. I have never 
met with a man, of any creed, of any school of religious 
speculation, who was so invulnerably cased in fully developed 
conviction upon every side. His faith was an intellectual 
system of mental armour in which he was clothed, cap-d-pz^, 
without a joint or an aperture discoverable anywhere. 
He never avoided argument ; on the contrary, he eagerly 
accepted every challenge ; and his accuracy of mind, 
working with extreme precision within a narrow channel, 
was such that it was not possible to controvert him on his 


own ground. What his own c^round was it may be well to 
state in his own words, and those for whom these nice 
points of theology have no attraction may be invited to 
pass on to a subsequent page : I cannot, as a biographer, 
omit so essential a portion of my task, because it is abstruse. 
This, then, is my father's confession of faith, taken from a 
letter written in 1878 : — 

"The whole of my theology rests on, and centres in, 
" the Resurrection of Christ. That Jesus was raised from 
" the dead, is an historical fact, the evidence for which is, 
" in my judgment, impregnable. I ask no more than 
" this ; everything else follows inevitably. A suffering, 
" dying Christ, and yet an ever-reigning Christ, was the 
''great theme of the Old Testament ; and Jesus did, on 
" numerous occasions, during His life, predict His own 
"death and resurrection, in order 'That the Scripture 
" ' might be fulfilled, that thus it must be.' 

" That He was raised from the dead was distinctly the 
" act of God the Father ; ' but God raised Him from the 
"'dead.' It was the solemn witness borne by God to 
" His mission. It did not prove Him to be God ; but 
'' it proved Him to have been the Sent One of the 
" Father ; it was the Father's seal to Him. 

" Now, then, every act and word of His comes with the 
" authority of God ; for He is God's accredited delegate 
" and spokesman. I must not pick and choose which 
"of His sayings I will receive; I dare refuse none; for 
" He never ceases to present the credentials of the Father. 
" All the wondrous scenes through which He passed, the 
" Temptation, the Transfiguration, the Agony, the Cross ; 
" His transactions with a personal devil, and with personal 
"demons; His revelations concerning His own pre- 
" existence, His unity with the Father, the covenant of 
" election, the perseverance of His saints. His advent and 


"judgment, the kingdom of heaven, the unquenchable 
" fire of hell ; — all these come to me with all the force 
" of dogmas, not one of which I have the option of 
" refusing, unless I refuse God ; for they have the authority 
"of Him whom God has sealedc 

"The Old Testament. 

" The Lord Jesus constantly cites the numerous books 
" of the Old Testament as a unit — ' the Scriptures,' and 
" He constantly appeals to it as an ultimate authority ; 
"'the Scripture cannot be broken,' etc. He cites the 
" words of Moses, of Isaiah, of David, but, withal, as 
"spoken 'by God' (Matt. xxii. 31), by ' the Holy Ghost' 
" (Mark xii. 36). He refers to the ancient narratives, as 
" indubitable verities ; to the marriage of Adam and 
" Eve (Matt. xix. 4) ; to Sodom and Gomorrha (xi. 23, 
" 24) ; to the manna, to the brazen serpent ; to Noah, 
" to Lot, to Lot's wife, to Elijah, to Elisha. He taught 
" His disciples that ' all things in Moses, the Prophets, 
"* and the Psalms ' were about Him, and must be fulfilled 
" (Luke xxiv. 27, 44-47). Now, since the Lord Jesus 
" thus honours the Old Scriptures, and never gives the 
" least hint that there is any exception to this honour ; 
" never speaks of them as containing, but always as beiftg, 
" the authoritative Word of God ; I must so receive them, 
" every word. 

"The New Testament. 

" But how can I be sure that the Gospels, the Acts, 
" the Epistles, the Apocalypse, are true ? are wholly 
" true, wholly trustworthy ; free from admixture of 
" human error } A question, this, of vast importance ; 
"since it is in the Epistles that the great scheme of 


" Christian doctrine is unfolded to faith, with dogmatic 
"completeness. One may confidently say, a priori, 
" that these could not be left to the indefinite admixture 
*' of human opinion, without frustrating the very purpose 
" for which the Father sent the Son ; it would be to 
" undermine that edifice for which He had hitherto laid 
" the most solid and stable foundation. 

" But we are not left to conjecture here. The Lord 
" Jesus, engaging to build His Church upon the Rock, 
" and conferring on Peter the privilege of the keys to 
" unlock the kingdom (Acts ii. and x.), promised first 
" to him (Matt. xvi. 19), and then to all the Apostles 
"(xviii. 18), that whatsoever they should bind or loose, 
'' He would ratify from heaven. For this end He pro- 
" mised them the Holy Ghost, to abide with them ; to 
'•'guide them into all [the] truth ; to take of His, and 
" the Father's, and show to them ; to bring all Jesus's 
" words to their remembrance ; to show them things to 
"come ; to enable them to be witnesses for Him (John 
"xiv.-xvi., passim). He sent them into the world, 
" exactly as the Father had sent Him (xvii. 18). 

" The Holy Ghost in due time was given, the witness 
" of Jesus-Messiah's ascension to the Divine Throne ; 
"and they, thus endowed, and distinctly accredited 
"(Acts i. 8), went forth 'witnesses to Him, ... to the 
" ' uttermost part of the earth.' 

" Here, again, my confidence finds an impregnable 
"fortress. Whatever I read in the Evangels, or the 
" Epistles, is no longer the utterance of a mere man, 
"however pious; it is not Luke or John, or Peter or 
"Paul, that I hear; it is God the Holy Ghost from 
" heaven, bearing witness to the Sent of the Father, now 
" that the Sent Son has gone up in resurrection life and 
" power to the P'ather's Throne. 


" Thus, in TJie Mysteries of God, I do not ask if this 
" dogma is probable or improbable ; if this is worthy or 
" unworthy of God, as I fashion Him in my imagination : 
"I simply ask, How is it written? What saith the 
" Scripture ? Assured that God has not raised Christ 
" from the dead, in order to tell us lies I " 
Put in a nutshell, then, his code was the Bible, and the 
Bible only, without any modern modification whatever ; 
without allowance for any difference between the old world 
and the new, without any distinction of value in parts, 
without the smallest concession to the critical spirit upon 
any point ; an absolute, uncompromising, unquestioning 
reliance on the Hebrew and Greek texts as inspired by the 
mouth of God and uncorrupted by the hand of man. The 
Bible, however, is full of dark sayings, and needs, as he 
admitted, an interpreter. But my father did not doubt his 
own competence to interpret. He had some reason to 
hold this view. His knowledge of the Bible can hardly 
have been excelled. His verbal memory of the Authorized 
Version included the whole New Testament, all the Psalms, 
most of the Prophets, and all the lyrical portions of the 
Historical Books. The condition of his memory fluctuated, 
of course, and was being daily refreshed at various points ; 
but I have his own repeated assurance that, practically 
speaking, he knew the Bible by heart. Nor was this in 
any sense a parrot-feat or trick of memory. He knew the 
text of Scripture in this extraordinary way, partly because 
his mind had an unusual power of verbal retention ; partly 
because, for nearly sixty years, whatever other occupations 
might have been in hand, no day passed in which he did 
not read and meditate upon some portion of the Bible. I 
have called his creed invulnerable ; and when it is con- 
sidered that he could not be assailed on the side of 
sensibility or sentiment, which he tossed to the winds, nor 


on that of scholastic or accepted interpretation, which he 
never preferred to his own where the two differed, that his 
memory could promptly supply him with an appropriate 
text at every turn of the argument, and that he never 
accepted the most alluring temptation to fight on theoretic 
ground outside the protecting shadow of the ipsissima 
verba of the Bible, it will perhaps be understood that he 
was an antagonist whom it was easy to disagree with, but 
uncommonly difficult to defeat. 

This being the foundation upon which Philip Gosse's 
religious edifice was based, it is not difficult to perceive 
how certain radical peculiarities of his character, to which 
the reader's attention has already been drawn, flourished 
under its shelter. His temper was unbending, and yet 
singularly wanting in initiative, and this was a system 
which provided his mind with the fully developed osseous 
skeleton it demanded. Revelation had to be accepted as a 
whole, and so as to leave no margin for scepticism. At the 
same time, the detail of Biblical interpretation opened up a 
field of minute investigation which w^as absolutely boundless, 
and which my father's near-sighted intellect, so helpless in 
sweeping a large philosophical horizon, so amazingly alert 
and vigorous in analyzing a minute area, could explore, 
without exhaustion, to an infinite degree. Hence what 
fascinated him more than any other mental exercise, 
especially of late years, was to take a passage of Scripture 
(in the Greek, for he never mastered Hebrew), and to 
dissect it, as if under the microscope, word by word, 
particle by particle, passing at length into subtleties where, 
undoubtedly, few could follow him. 

Protected by his ample shield, the text of Scripture, he 
was quite calm under the charge of heterodoxy which 
sometimes reached him in his retreat. It is not a matter for 
surprise that with his remarkable temperament, his isolated 


and self-contained habit of mind, he found it impossible 
to throw in his lot with the system of any existing 
Christian Church. In middle life he had connected him- 
self with the Plymouth Brethren, principally, no doubt, 
because of their lack of systematic organization, their repu- 
diation of all traditional authority, their belief that the Bible 
is the infallible and sufficient guide. But he soon lost 
confidence in the Plymouth Brethren also, and for the last 
thirty years of his life he was really unconnected with any 
Christian body whatever. What was very curious was that, 
with his intense persistence in the study of religious ques- 
tions, he should feel no curiosity to know the views of others. 
In those thirty years he scarcely heard any preacher of 
his own reputed sect ; I am confident that he never once 
attended the services of any unaffiliated minister. 

He had gathered round him at St. Marychurch a 
cluster of friends, mostly of a simple and rustic order, to 
whom he preached and expounded, and amongst whom he 
officiated as minister and head. This little body he called 
" The Church of Christ in this Parish," ignoring, with a 
sublime serenity, the claims of all the other religious 
institutions with which St. Marychurch might be supplied. 
His attitude, without the least intentional arrogance or 
unfriendliness, was exactly that which some first apostle of 
the Christian faith in Ceylon or Sumatra might have 
adopted, to whom his own converts were ''the Church," 
and the surrounding Asiatics, of whatever civilization, of 
whatever variety of ancient and divergent creed, merely 
" the world." He made no attempt, however, to prosely- 
tize ; he alternated his expositions to the flock under his 
care by addresses, of an explanatory and hortatory cha- 
racter, to outsiders, in " the Room," as his little chapel was 
with severe modesty styled. But his view was that the 
light was kept burning in the small community, and that 


on those in the darkness around lay the solemn responsi- 
bility if they were not attracted into its circle of radiance. 

Over such a mind, so earnestly and deeply convinced, 
external considerations could have little sway. " My mind 
to me a kingdom is," my father used often to repeat, 
but not at all in the sense of the poet. Society had no 
court of appeal against any course of action which my 
father's conscience prompted, and it was rather a subject 
of congratulation that, having chosen to lead a retired 
and meditative life, he really did not come into collision 
with the world. He belonged to the race from which 
passive martyrs are taken. He had no desire to go out 
with a trumpet and a sword, but in his own quieter way 
he was as stubborn as any of the victims of Bloody Mary. 
If he had happened to object to any of the modes in which 
government, as at present constituted, operates in social 
discipline ; if, for instance, he had formed conscientious 
scruples against paying rates, or being vaccinated, he 
would have offered the absolute maximum of resistance. 
Fortunately for his domestic peace, he did not come into 
collision with the law on any of these points. But he had 
peculiarities which showed the iron rigidity of his con- 
science. He had a very singular objection to the feast of 
Christmas, conceiving this festival to be a heathen survival 
to which the name of Christ had been affixed in hideous 
profanity. This objection showed itself in amusing and 
bewildering ways. He regarded plum-pudding and roast 
turkey as innocent and acceptable, if the fatal word had 
not been pronounced in connection with them ; but if once 
they were spoken of as " Christmas turkey," or a " Christ- 
mas pudding," they became abominable, " food offered to 
idols." Biblical students will observe the source of this 
idea — a most ingenious adaptation to modern life of an 
injunction to the Corinthians. Friends who knew this 


singular prejudice were particular to send gifts for New 
Year's Day ; and I well recollect my father's taking off the 
dish-cover and revealing a magnificent goose at dinner, 
while he paused to remark to the guests (none of whom, 
by the way, shared this particular conviction), " I need not 
assure you, dear friends, that this bird has not been 
offered to the idol." 

This was a case in which, we may all admit, the de- 
licate scruples of Philip Gosse's conscience were strained in 
a somewhat trivial direction, A graver question may be 
raised, though I will not be so impertinent as to attempt 
an answer, by my father's rigid attitude toward those who 
were not at one with him on essential points of religion. 
" I could never divide myself from any man upon the 
difference of an opinion," said Sir Thomas Browne, and 
modern feeling has been inclined to applaud him. But 
my father was not modern, and it would not merely be 
absurd, it would be unjust, if I were to pretend that he was 
liberal, or would have thought it godly to be liberal. 
Towards those who differed from him on essential points 
of religion, his attitude was as severe as his masculine 
nature knew how to make it. He was not sympathetic ; 
he had no intuition of what might be passing through the 
mind of one who held views utterly at variance with what 
seemed to himself to be inevitable. He could be indulgent 
to ignorance, but when there w^as no longer this excuse, 
when the revealed will of God on a certain point had been 
lucidly stated and explained to the erring mind, if then 
it were still rejected, no matter on what grounds, there was 
no further appeal. To that kind question of Fuller's, " Is 
there no way to bring home a wandering sheep but by 
worrying him to death ? " my father would have answered 
by a mournful shake of the head. The fold was open, the 
shepherd was calling, the dog was hurrying and barking, 


and the wickedness of the sheep in refusing to return 
seemed almost inconceivable. 

The reader cannot but have already observed how 
few and how ephemeral were my father's intimate 
friendships with those whose station, tastes, and acquire- 
ments might have been supposed to tally with his own. 
In the world of literature and science he scarcely kept 
up a single close acquaintanceship. Of friendship as a 
cardinal virtue, as one of the great elements in a happy life, 
he had no conception. He could make none of those 
concessions, those mutual acceptances of the inevitable, 
without which this, the most spiritual of the passions, 
cannot exist. Even those who were most strongly 
attracted to him, fell off at last from the unyielding surface 
of his conscience ; this was the secret of his brief and 
truncated intimacy with Edward Forbes, whom he had 
seemed to love so well. The ardent patience and sym- 
pathy of Charles Kingsley, the friend from the outer world 
whom he preserved longest, wearied at length of an 
intercourse in which principles were ever preferred to 
persons. In later years one example may suffice. Dora 
Greenwell precipitated herself on the friendship of Philip 
Gosse with an impetuosity which at first bore everything 
before it, and in a copious correspondence laid open to 
him her spiritual ardours and aspirations. He was 
gratified, he was touched, but to respond was impossible 
to him ; he had the same purely didactic touch, the same 
logic, the same inelasticity for every one, and friendship 
soon expired in such a vacuum. A phrase in a letter to 
myself gives its own key to the social isolation of his life. 
" I am impatient and intolerant," he writes, " of all resist- jf 
ance to what I see to be the will of God, and if that 
resistance is sustained, I have no choice but to turn away 
from him who resists." 


His extraordinary severity towards those who occupy 
the extremes of Christian dogma, towards the Church of 
Rome and towards the Unitarians, was a result of this 
idiosyncrasy pushed to its extreme. In 1859, when he was 
lecturing in Birmingham, before the Midland Institute, he 
was invited to meet some of the principal personages of 
the town at dinner, and, in particular, a well-known 
gentleman, who is now dead. Philip Gosse accepted the 
invitation with pleasure ; but shortly before the party met, 
the host received a note saying that it had just been men- 
tioned to iNIr. Gosse that ]\Ir. was a Socinian. Had Mr. 

Gosse been unaware of this, he should have desired to ask 
no questions, but, the information having been volunteered, 
he had no alternative but, with extreme regret and even 
distress, to explain that he could not "sit at meat with 
one whom I know to deny the Divinity of the blessed 
Lord." To realize what this sacrifice to conscience in- 
volved, it must be recollected that my father was a man 
of elaborate and punctilious courtesy, and extremely 
timid. I could multiply examples, but it is needless to 
do so. 

It will perhaps be assumed from this sketch of my 
father's religious views, that he was gloomy and saturnine 
in manner. It is true that, at the very end of his life, 
wrapped up as he grew to be more and more in meta- 
physical lucubrations, his extreme self-absorption took a 
stern complexion. But it had not always been so in earlier 
years. He was subject to long fits of depression, the 
result in great measure of dyspepsia, but when these 
passed away he would be cheerful and even gay for 
weeks at a time. Never lonely, never bored, he was 
contented with small excitements and monotonous amuse- 
ments, and asked no more than to be left alone among his 
orchids, his cats, and his butterflies, happy from morning 


till night. On the first day of his seventy-eighth year, he 
wrote to me in these terms : — 

" My health is fair and my vigour considerable. I am 

" free from pains and infirmities. My zest and delight 

"in my microscopical studies is unabated yet, so that 

" every day is an unflagging holiday." 

This description of his feelings, at a time when the 
shadow of death had almost crossed his path, is significant, 
and might be taken to characterize his inward feeling, if 
not always his outward aspect, through the main part of 
the last thirty years of his life. He could even, on occasion, 
be merry, with a playfulness that was almost pathetic, 
because it seemed to be the expression of a human 
sympathy buried too far down in his being to reveal itself 
except in this dumb way. I cannot exactly describe what 
it was that made this powerfully built and admirably 
equipped man sometimes strike one as having the im- 
matureness and touching incompleteness of the nature of 
a child. It was partly that he was innocent of observing 
any but the most obvious and least complex working of 
the mind in others. But it was mainly that he had nothing 
in common wnth his age. He was a Covenanter come into 
the world a couple of centuries after his time, to find society 
grown too soft for his scruples and' too ingenious for his 
severe simplicity. He could never learn to speak the 
ethical language of the nineteenth century ; he was seven- 
teenth century in spirit and manner to the last. 

No question is more often put to me regarding my 
father than this — How did he reconcile his religious to his 
scientific views? The case of Faraday may throw some 
light, but not very much, upon the problem. The word 
" reconcile " is scarcely the right one, because the idea of 
reconciliation was hardly entertained by my father. He 
had no notion of striking a happy mean between his 


impressions of nature and his convictions of religion. If 
the former offered any opposition to the latter, they were 
swept away. The rising tide is " reconciled " in the same 
fashion to a child's battlements of sand along the shore. 
Awe, an element almost eliminated from the modern mind, 
was strongly developed in Philip Gosse's character. He 
speaks of himself, in one of his letters, as having been 
under "the subjugation of spiritual awe to a decidedly 
morbid degree " during the whole of his life. He meant by 
this, I feel no doubt, that he was conscious of an ever- 
present bias towards the relinquishing of any idea pre- 
sumably unpalatable to his inward counsellor. It was 
under the pressure of this sense of awe that, when his 
intellect was still fresh, he deliberately refused to give a 
proper examination to the theory of evolution which his 
own experiments and observations had helped to supply 
with arguments. It was certainly not through vagueness 
of mind or lack of a logical habit that he took up this 
strange position, as of an intellectual ostrich with his head 
in a bush, since his intelligence, if narrow, was as clear as 
crystal, and his mind eminently logical. It was because a 
" spiritual awe " overshadowed his conscience, and he could 
not venture to take the first step in a downward course of 
scepticism. He was not one who could accept half-truths 
or see in the twilight. It must be high noon or else utter 
midnight with a character so positive as his. 

It followed, then, that his abundant and varied scientific 
labours were undertaken, whenever they were fruitful, in 
fields where there was no possibility of contest between 
experimental knowledge and revelation. Where his work 
was technical, not popular, it was exclusively concerned 
with the habits, or the forms, or the structure of animals, 
not observed in the service of any theory or philosophical 
principle, but for their own sake. In the two departments 


where he accomplished the greatest amount of original 
work, in the Aciiiiozoa and the Rotifera, it was impossible 
for hypothesis of an anti-scriptural tendency to intrude, 
and if the observations which he made were used by others 
to support a theory inconsistent with the record of creation, 
he was not obliged to be cognizant of any such perversion 
of his work. He used, very modestly, to describe himself 
as " a hewer of wood and a drawer of water " in the house 
of science, but no biologist will on that account under- 
rate what he has done. His extreme care in diagnosis, 
the clearness of his eye, the marvellous exactitude of his 
memory, his recognition of what was salient in the charac- 
teristics of each species, his unsurpassed skill in defining 
those characteristics by word and by pencil, his great 
activity and pertinacity, all these combined to make Philip 
Gosse a technical observer of unusually high rank. In the 
article which the Saturday Review dedicated to my father 
at the time of his death, a passage was quoted from the 
preface to his Actinologia Britannica (1859), as giving in 
excellent terms the principles upon which his analytical 
labours in zoology were performed : — 

" Having often painfully felt," he there said, " in studying 
"works similar to the present, the evil of the vagueness 
" and confusion that too frequently mark the descriptive 
" portions, I have endeavoured to draw up the characters 
"of the animals which I describe, with distinctive pre- 
"cision, and -with order. It is reported of Montagu that, 
" in describing animals, he constantly wrote as if he had 
" expected that the next day would bring to light some 
" new species closely resembling the one before him ; and 
" therefore his diagnosis can rarely be amended. Some 
"writers mistake for precision an excessive minuteness, 
"which only distracts the student, and is, after all, but the 
"portrait of an individual. Others describe so loosely 



''that half of the characters would serve as well for half 
"a dozen other species. I have sought to avoid both 
"errors : to make the diagnosis as brief as possible, and 
"yet clear, by seizing on such characters, in each case, as 
"are truly distinctive and discriminative." 
As early as 183 1 Philip Gosse began to be a minute and 
systematic zoologist. I have attempted to describe how, 
in the remote wilds of Newfoundland, with no help what- 
ever towards identification, except "the brief, highly con- 
densed, and technical generic characters of Linnasus's 
Systerna Nahtrcel' he attacked the vast class of insects, and 
struck out for himself, specimens in hand, a road through 
that trackless wilderness. The experience he gained in 
this early enterprise could not be overestimated. Long 
afterwards, when complimented on the fullness and pre- 
cision of his characterization, he wrote of his struggles with 
the Linnaean Genera Insectoriim.'BSidi added that it was then 
that he " acquired the habit of comparing structure with 
structure, of marking minute differences of form, and 
became in some measure accustomed to that precision of 
language, without which descriptive natural history could 
not exist." If I may point to one publication of my 
father's in particular, the acumen and accuracy of which in 
technical characterization have been helpful to hundreds 
of students, I will select the two volumes of the Manual of 
Marine Zoology, which so many an investigator has paused 
to take out of his pocket and consult when puzzled by 
some many-legged or strangely valved object underneath 
the seaweed curtain of a tidal pool. 

As a zoological artist, Philip Gosse claims high con- 
sideration. His books were almost always illustrated, and 
often very copiously and brilliantly illustrated, by his own 
pencil. It was his custom from his earliest childhood to 
make drawings and paintings of objects which came under 


his notice. In Newfoundland he had seriously begun to 
make a collection of desip^ns. In July, 1855, he stated (in 
the preface to the Manual of Marine Zoologyf) that he had 
up to that date accumulated in his portfolios more than 
three thousand figures of animals or parts of animals, of 
which about two thousand five hundred were of the in- 
vertebrate classes, and about half of these latter done 
under the microscope. During the remainder of his life 
he added perhaps two thousand more drawings to his 
collections. The remarkable feature about these careful 
works of art was that, in the majority of cases, they were 
drawn from the living animal. 

His zeal as a draughtsman was extraordinary. I have 
often known him return, exhausted, from collecting on 
the shore, with some delicate and unique creature secured 
in a phial. The nature of the little rarity would be such 
as to threaten it with death within an hour or two, even 
under the gentlest form of captivity. Anxiously eyeing 
it, my father would march off with it to his study, and, 
not waiting to change his uncomfortable clothes, soaked 
perhaps in sea-water, but adroitly mounting the captive 
on a glass plate under the microscope, would immediately 
prepare an elaborate coloured drawing, careless of the 
claims of dinner or the need of rest. His touch with the 
pencil was rapid, fine, and exquisitely accurate. His eye- 
sight was exceedingly powerful, and though he used spec- 
tacles for many years, and occasionally had to resign for 
a while the use of the microscope, his eyes never wore out, 
and showed extraordinary recuperative power. He was 
drawing microscopic rotifers, with very little less than his 
old exactitude and brilliancy, after he had entered his 
seventy-eighth year. 

In A Naturalises Rambles on the Devonshire Coast 
(1853) he first began to adorn his books with those beau- 


tiful and exceedingly accurate coloured plates of marine 
objects which became so popular a part of his successive 
works. These were drawn on the stone by himself, and 
printed in colours by the well-known firm of Hullmandel 
and Walton with very considerable success. The plates of 
sea-anemones in this volume, though surpassed several 
years later by those in the Actinologiay were at that time 
a revelation. So little did people know of the variety and 
loveliness of the denizens of the seashore, that, although 
these plates fell far short of the splendid hues of the 
originals, and moreover depicted forms that should not 
have been unfamiliar, several of the reviewers refused 
altogether to believe in them, classing them with travellers' 
tales about hills of sugar and rivers of rum. Philip Gosse 
himself was disgusted with the tameness of the colours, to 
which the imperfect lithography gave a general dusty 
grayness, and he determined to try and dazzle the indo- 
lent reviewers. Consequently, in 1854, in publishing The 
Aquarium, he gave immense pains to the plates, and suc- 
ceeded in producing specimens of unprecedented beauty. 
Certain full-page illustrations in this volume, the scarlet 
Ancient Wrasse floating in front of his dark seaweed cavern ; 
the Parasitic Anemone, with the transparent pink curtain of 
delesseria fronds behind it, the black and orange brittle- 
star at its base ; and, above all perhaps, the plate of star- 
fishes, made a positive sensation, and marked an epoch in 
the annals of English book illustration. In spite of the 
ingenuity and abundance of the " processes " which have 
since been invented, the art of printing in colours can 
scarcely be said to have advanced beyond some of these 
plates to The Aquarium. Philip Gosse was never again 
quite so fortunate. Even the much-admired illustrations 
to the Actinologia/\n i860, though executed with great care 
and profusion of tints, were not so harmonious, so delicate, 


or so distinguished as those of 1854. To compare the 
author's originals with the most successful of the chromo- 
lithographs is to realize how much was lost by the 
mechanical art of production. 

Philip Gosse as a draughtsman was trained in the school 
of the miniature painters. When a child he had been 
accustomed to see his father inscribe the outline of a 
portrait on the tiny area of the ivory, and then fill it in 
with stipplings of pure body-colour. He possessed to the 
last the limitations of the miniaturist. He had no distance, 
no breadth of tone, no perspective ; but a miraculous ex- 
actitude in rendering shades of colour and minute peculiari- 
ties of form and marking. In late years he was accustomed 
to make a kind of patchwork quilt of each full-page illus- 
tration, collecting as many individual forms as he wished 
to present, each separately coloured and cut out, and then 
gummed into its place on the general plate, upon which a 
background of rocks, sand, and seaweeds was then washed 
in. This secured extreme accuracy, no doubt, but did not 
improve the artistic effect, and therefore, to non-scientific 
observers, his earlier groups of coloured illustrations give 
more pleasure than the later. The copious plates in A 
Year on the Shore, though they were much admired at the 
time, were a source of acute disappointment to the artist. 
There exists a copy of this book into w^iich the original 
vv^ater-colour drawings have been inserted, and the difterence 
in freshness, brilliancy, and justice of the tone between 
these and the published reproductions is striking enough. 
The submarine landscapes in many of these last examples 
were put in by Airs. Gosse, who had been in early life a 
pupil of Cotman. 

Between 1853 and i860 my father lectured on several 
occasions in various parts of England and Scotland, with 
marked success. He was perhaps the earliest of those 


who, in public lecturing, combined a popular method with 
exact scientific information. He was accustomed to use 
freehand drawing on the black-board, in a mode which 
was novel when he first began, but which soon became 
common enough. He gave up lecturing mainly because of 
the extreme shyness which he never ceased to feel in 
addressing a strange audience. Had he not expressed 
this sense of suffering, no one would have guessed it from 
his serene and dignified manner of speaking on these 
occasions. His fondness for romantic poetry, and his 
habit of reciting it at home with a loud, impressive utter- 
ance, naturally produced an effect upon his manner in 
public speaking and lecturing. 

It was a subject of constant regret to us in later years 
that he would not cultivate, for the general advantage, his 
natural gift of elocution. He needed, however, what he 
certainly would not have accepted, some training in the 
conduct of his voice, which he threw out with too monoto- 
nous a roll, a rapture too undeviatingly prophetic. But his 
enunciation was so clear and just, his voice so resonant, and 
his cadences so pure and distinguished, that he might easily 
have become, had he chosen to interest himself in human 
affairs, unusually successful as an orator. But it would 
doubtless always have been difficult for him to have stirred 
the enthusiasm, though he would easily have been secure 
of the admiration and attention, of an audience. Of late 
years, as long as his health permitted, he preached every 
Sunday in his chapel, always with the same earnest im- 
pressiveness, the same scrupulous elegance of language ; 
but apt a little too much, perhaps, for so simple an 
audience, to be occupied with what may be called the 
metaphysics of religion. 

His public speaking, however, was highly characteristic 
of himself, which is more than can justly be said of his 



letters. These were usually very disappointing. This 
did not arise from lack, but from excess of care ; the 
consequence being that his letters, even to the members of 
his own family, were often so stiff and sesquipedalian as 
to produce a repellent effect, which was the very last thing 
that he intended. Letters, to be delightful, must be 
chatty, artless, irregular ; anything of obvious design in 
their composition is fatal to their charm. My father had a 
theory of correspondence. He arranged the materials of 
which he wished to compose his letter according to a 
precise system, and he clothed them in language which 
reminded one of The Rambler. Hence it was rarely indeed 
that any one received from him one of those chatty, con- 
fidential epistles which reveal the soul, and touch the very 
springs of human nature. Letters should seem to have 
been written in dressing-gown and slippers ; my father's 
brought up a vision of black kid gloves and a close-fitting 
frock-coat The absence of anything like picturesque detail 
in them is very extraordinary when it is contrasted with 
the easy and romantic style of his best books. In his 
public works he takes his readers into his familiarity ; in 
his private letters he seemed to hold them at arm's length. 
The fullest expression of Philip Gosse's mind, indeed, is 
to be found in his books, and some general estimate of 
the character of these may at this point be attempted. 
Viewed as a whole, his abundant literary work is of very 
irregular character. Much of it bears the stamp of having 
been produced, against the grain, by the pressure of pro- 
fessional requirements. A great many of his numerous 
volumes may be dismissed as entirely ephemeral, as con- 
scientious and capable pieces of occasional work, effective 
enough at the time of their publication, but no longer 
of any real importance. Another considerable section of 
his popular work consists of hand-books, which are not to 


be treated as literature. Yet another section consists of 
books in which the religious teacher is pre-eminent, in 
which the design is not to please, but to convict, admonish, 
or persuade. When these three divisions of his vast 
library of publications are dismissed as valuable each after 
its kind, but distinctly unliterary, there remains a residuum 
of about eight or nine volumes, which are books in the 
literary sense, which are not liable to extinction from the 
nature of their subject, and which constitute his claim to 
an enduring memory as a writer. Of these TJie Canadian 
Naturalist oi 1 840 is the earliest, A Year at the Shore of 
1865 the latest. Charles Kingsley's criticism of these 
volumes, expressed thirty-five years ago, may still be 
quoted. Surveying the literature of natural history, 
Kingsley wrote, in Glancns : — 

" First and foremost, certainly, come Mr. Gosse's 
"books. There is a playful and genial spirit in them, 
" a brilliant power of word-painting, combined with deep 
"and earnest religious feeling, which makes them as 
" morally valuable as they are intellectually interesting. 
" Since White's History of Selborne few or no writers on 
" natural history, save Mr. Gosse and poor Mr. Edward 
" Forbes, have had the power of bringing out the human 
" side of science, and giving to seemingly dry disquisi- 
" tions and animals of the lowest type, by little touches 
" of pathos and humour, that living and personal interest, 
"to bestow which is generally the special function of 
" the poet. Not that Waterton and Jesse are not excellent 
"in this respect, and authors who should be in every 
" boy's library : but they are rather anecdotists than 
" systematic or scientific inquirers ; while Mr. Gosse, in 
" his Naturalist on the Shores of Devon, his Tonr in 
''Jamaica, and his Canadian Naturalist, has done for 
"those three places what White did for Selborne, with 


"all the improved appliances of a science which has 
" widened and deepened tenfold since White's time." 
The style of Philip Gosse was scarcely affected by any 
other external influences than those which had come 
across his path in his early youth in Newfoundland. The 
manner of writing of the most striking authors of his own 
generation, such as Carlyle and Macaulay, did not leave 
any trace upon him, since he was mature before he met 
with their works. The only masters under whom he 
studied prose were romance-writers of a class now wholly 
neglected and almost forgotten. Fenimore Cooper, whose 
novels were appearing in quick succession between 1820 
and 1840, introduced into these stories of Indian life 
elaborate studies of landscape and seascape which had a 
real merit of their own. TJie Canadian Naturalist shows 
evident signs of an enthusiastic study of these descriptive 
parts of Cooper. John Banim, the Irish novelist, whose 
O'Hara Tales captivated him so long, left a mark on the 
minute and graphic style of Philip Gosse, and there can be 
little doubt that the latter owed something of the gorgeous- 
ness and redundancy of his more purple passages to the 
inordinate admiration he had felt for the apocalyptic 
romances of the Rev. George Croly, whose once-famous 
SalatJiiel he almost knew by heart. After the year 1838 
he ceased to read new prose books for enjoyment of their 
manner, and his style underwent but little further modi- 

The most characteristic of my father's books, as types 
of which A Naturalisfs Sojourn in Jamaica and the 
Devonshire Coast may be taken, consisted of an amalgam 
of picturesque description, exact zoological statement, 
topographical gossip, and easy reflection, combined after a 
fashion wholly his own, and unlike anything attempted 
before his day. White's Set borne, alone, may be supposed 


to have in some measure anticipated the form of these 
books, in which the reader is hurried so pleasantly from 
subject to subject, that he has no time to notice that he is 
acquiring a great quantity of positive and even technical in- 
^ formation. A single chapter of the Devonshire Coast opens 
with a picture of the receding tide on the north shore at the 
approach of evening ; proceeds to a particular account of 
two remarkable species, the one a polyp, the other the rare 
sipunculid Harvey's Syrinx, each so described that a mere 
tyro ought to be able to identify a specimen for himself ; 
describes the Capstone Hill and its attractions, like a sort 
of glorified hand-book ; tells a thrilling story of the loss of a 
child by drowning ; gives a close analysis of the physio- 
logical characteristics of a fine sea-anemone, gemmacea, of 
a singular marine spider, and of an uncouth sand-worm ; 
recounts an entertaining adventure with a soft crab ; care- 
fully depicts the scenery of the hamlet of Lee ; and ends 
up with an elaborate account of the habitat, manners, and 
anatomy of the worm pipe-fish {SyngnatJms liunbriciformis). 
So much is pressed into one short chapter, and the others 
are built up on the same plan, in a mode apparently art- 
less, but really carefully designed to mingle entertainment 
with instruction. The landscape framework in which the 
zoology is set will be found to bear examination with 
remarkable success. Every touch is painted from nature ; 
not one is rhetorical, not one introduced to give colour to 
the composition, but each is the result of a series of 
extremely delicate apprehensions retained successively in 
the memory with great distinctness, and transferred to 
paper with fine exactitude. I know of no writer who has 
described the phenomena of the falling tide on a rocky 
coast with as much accuracy, or with more grace of style, 
than Philip Gosse in the passage which I have alluded to 
above in my accidental synopsis of a chapter taken at 


random from the Devonshire Coast. I quote it here as a 
good, yet not exceptional example of his style : — 

" How rapidly the sea leaves the beach! Yonder is 
"an area distinguished from the rest by its unruffled 
" smoothness on the recess of the wave ; presently a 
" black speck appears on it, now two or three more ; we 
" fix our eyes on it, and presently the specks thicken, 
" they have become a patch, a patch of gravel ; the 
"waves hide it as they come up, but in an instant or two 
"we predict that it will be covered no more. JMean- 
" while the dark patch grows on every side ; it is now 
" connected with the beach above, first by a little 
"isthmus at one end, enclosing a pool of clear per- 
" fectly smooth water, a miniature lagoon in which the 
"young crescent moon is sharply reflected with in- 
" verted horns ; the isthmus widens as we watch it ; 
" we can see it grow, and now the water is running out 
"of the lakelet in a rapid; the ridges of black rock 
"shoot across it, they unite; — the pool is gone, and the 
"water's edge that was just now washing the foot of the 
"causeway on which we are sitting, is now stretched 
" from yonder points, with a great breadth of shingle 
" beach between it and us. And now the ruddy sea is 
" bristling with points and ledges of rock, that are 
*' almost filling the foreground of what was just now a 
" smooth expanse ; and what were little scattered islets 
" now look like the mountain-peaks and ridges of a con- 
"tinent The glow of the sky is fading to a ruddy 
" chestnut hue ; the moon and Venus are glittering 
'bright; the little bats are out, and are flitting, on 
'giddy wing, to and fro along the edge of the cause- 
"way, ever and anon wheeling around close to our feet. 
"The dorrs, too, with humdrum flight, come one after 
" another, and passing before our faces, are visible for 


*' a moment against the sky, as they shoot out to seaward. 
*' The moths are playing round the tops of the budding 
"trees; the screaming swifts begin to disappear; the 
"stars are coming out all over the sky, and the moon, 
" that a short time before looked like a thread of silver, 
''now resembles a bright and golden bow, and night 
"shuts up for the present the book of nature." 
In the obituary notice of my father published, in 1889, 
in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, it is remarked by 
^the author, Mr. H. B. Brady, that he was " not only a 
many-sided and experienced naturalist, but one who did 
more than all his scientific contemporaries to popularize 
the study of natural objects." Until his day very little 
indeed was generally known on the subject of marine 
zoology. The existing works on these lower forms, ex- 
ceedingly limited and imperfect as they were, gave little 
or no impression of the living condition of these creatures 
in their native waters. It was Philip Gosse's function to 
take the public to the edge of the great tidal pools, and 
bid them gaze down for themselves upon all the miraculous 
animal and vegetable beauty that waved and fluttered there. 
In doing this, he was immensely aided by his own inven- 
tion of the aquarium, which was instantly accepted by 
naturalists and amateurs alike, and became to the one a 
portable studio of biology, to the others a charming and 
fashionable toy. 

The volumes of Punch for thirty-five years ago reflect 
the sudden popularity of this invention ; and, in addition 
to the innumerable private vivaria, large public tanks, 
fitted up in accordance with Philip Gosse's prescriptions, 
were started all over Europe. The late Mr. W. Alford 
Lloyd, whose affectionate devotion to my father deserves 
the warmest recognition, was the agent in whose hands 
the practical development of the scheme spread to the 


construction of great public aquaria. These institutions 
achieved, perhaps, their highest success at Naples, under 
the admirable superintendence of Dr. Anton Dohrn ; but 
it is to the initiative step taken by Philip Gosse in 1852 
that science owes the elaborate marine biological stations 
now established at various points along the European 
coast. He would not be equally proud to witness the 
most modern expression of the aquarium philosophy. 
When he was eagerly proposing the preservation of marine 
animals alive in mimic seas, he certainly did not anticipate 
that within forty years an aquarium would come to mean 
a place devoted to parachute monkeys, performing bears, 
and aerial queens of the tight-rope. 

His interest in natural objects was mainly aesthetic and 
poetical, dependingon the beauty and ingenuity of their forms. 
He regarded man rather as a blot upon the face of nature, * 
than as its highest and most dignified development. His 
attention, indeed, was scarcely directed to humanity, even 
in those artistic amusements to which he dedicated a large 
part of his leisure. His second wife's predilection for land- 
scape painting led him, about 1870, to learn the rudiments 
of that art, and he amused himself by taking a variety of 
studies in the open air, on Dartmoor, in the valley of the 
Teign, and by the shore, always selecting a point of view 
from which nothing which suggested human life was visible. 
These landscapes, if they were not very artistic, were often 
marked by his keenness of observation and originality of 
aspect. It is curious and highly characteristic that, not- 
withstanding all his familiarity with animal shapes, and 
his extraordinary skill in imitating them, he was absolutely 
unable to copy a human face or figure. When I was a 
child, I was for ever begging him to draw me " a man," but 
he could never be tempted to do it. " No ! " he would say, 
" a humming-bird is much nicer, or a shark, or a zebra. I 


will draw you a zebra." And among the five thousand 
illustrations which he painted, I do not think that there is 
one to be found in which an attempt is made to depict the 
human form. Man was the animal he studied less than 
any other, understood most imperfectly, and, on the 
whole, was least interested in. At any moment he would 
have cheerfully given a wilderness of strangers for a new 

His appreciation of the plastic arts, notwithstanding his 
training and his skill, was very limited. He was positively 
blind to sculpture and architecture, to the presence of 
which his attention had to be forcibly drawn, if it was 
to be drawn at all. After lecturing in some of the 
cathedral cities of England, he has been found not to have 
noticed that there was a minster in the place ; much less 
could he describe such a church or appreciate it. He 
occasionally visited the Royal Academy, and exhibited 
considerable interest, but invariably in the direction of 
detecting errors or the reverse in the drawing or placing of 
natural phenomena, such as plants, animals, or heavenly 
bodies. Of the drama he disapproved with a vehemence 
which would have done credit to Jeremy Collier or 
William Law, and he would have swept it out of existence 
had he possessed the power to do so. With all his passion 
for poetry, he would never consent to read Shakespeare. 
He was inside a theatre but once; in 1853, on the first 
night of the revival of Byron's Sardanapalus at Drury 
Lane, he was present in the pit. Faraday — as little of a 
playgoer as himself, I suppose — was a spectator on the same 
occasion. To my father, the attraction was the careful 
antiquarian reproduction of an Assyrian court, founded 
upon the then recent discoveries made at Nineveh by 
Botta and Layard. In after years I asked him what effect 
this solitary visit to a theatre had produced upon him. He 


answered, with liis usual severe candour, that he had 
observed nothing in the sh'ghtest degree objectionable, 
but that one such adventure would satisfy him for a 

The one art by which he was vividly affected was poetry. 
The magic of romantic verse, which had taken him captive 
in early boyhood, when he found it first in the pages of 
Lara, never entirely lost its spell over him. Milton (though 
with occasional qualms, because P^r^^/>^ Z^j-/ was "tainted 
with the Arian heresy "), Wordsworth, Gray, Cowper, and 
Southey, were at his fingers' ends, and he had certain 
favourite passages of each of these which he was never 
weary of intoning. He liked Southey, because he was, as 
he put it, " the best naturalist among the English poets," 
and had described sea-anemones like a zoologist in Thalaba. 
He was much more interested, towards the end, in portions 
of Swinburne and Rossetti, than he had ever been in 
Tennyson and Browning, for neither of whom he had the 
slightest tolerance. Almost the latest conscious exercise of 
my father's brain was connected with his love for poetry. 
During his fatal illness, in July, 1888, when the gloom of 
decay was creeping over his intellect, he was carried out for 
a drive, the last which he would ever take, on an afternoon 
of unusual beauty. We passed through the bright street of 
Torquay, along the strand of Torbay, with its thin screen 
of tamarisks between the roadway and the bay, up through 
the lanes of Torre and Cockington. My father, with the 
pathetic look in his eyes, the mortal pallor on his cheeks, 
scarcely spoke, and seemed to observe nothing. But, 
as we turned to drive back down a steep lane of over- 
hanging branches, the pale vista of the sea burst upon 
us, silvery blue in the yellow light of afternoon. Some- 
thing in the beauty of the scene raised the sunken brain, 
and with a little of the old declamatory animation in head 


and hand, he began to recite the well-known passage in 
the fourth book oi Paradise Lost — 

" Now came still evening on, and twilight grey 
Had in her sober livery all things clad." 

He pursued the quotation through three or four lines, 
and then, in the middle of a sentence, the music broke, his 
head fell once more upon his breast, and for him the 
splendid memory, the self-sustaining intellect which had 
guided the body so long, were to be its companions upon 
earth no more. 



My step-mother has been so kind as to contribute some 
notes of that constant companionship with the subject of 
this memoir which she enjoyed through nearly thirty years. 
I think her intimate recollections will be appreciated by 
all readers of this book ; they certainly will be prized 
by that narrower circle for whom they were primarily 

Reminiscences of My Husband from i860 to 1888. 

My first acquaintance with Philip Henry Gosse was made early in 
March, i860. My sister and I had come from the eastern counties 
to spend the winter in Torquay. We came in February as strangers, 
never having been in this part before. We were recommended 
to Upton Cottage, in the suburbs of Torquay, where some kind 
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Curtis, were living, who made us 
very happy for some months. One morning in March, the late 
Mr. Leonard Strong came into the Cottage and said, *'I am just 
come from the Cemetery, where I have been conducting the 
funeral service over Mr. Gosse's mother, who had lived with him 
ever since he left London about two years ago." I at once asked, 
" What Mr. Gosse ? Is he the noted naturalist ? " " Yes," said 
Mr. Strong ; " and he lives in St. Marychurch, close by you. The 
name 'Sandhurst,' in plain letters, is on his gate. He is the 
minister of a small church at the east end of that village." I 
knew him to be an eminent naturalist, but had formed no idea 
where he lived. Our curiosity was awakened, and we agreed that, 
when some opportunity occurred, we would go to this chapel, 
which proved to be, more properly speaking, a public room for 
meetings, in order to see and hear him. The friends with whom 
we were living were equally interested. 

2 A 


After two or three weeks we planned to go on a Sunday evening 
to this public room, where a section of the Christians called 
" Plymouth Brethren " were meeting, according to the simplicity 
of the New Testament Scripture principles, without ritual, choral 
adjunct, or outward adornment. Here we found Philip Henry 
Gosse addressing the meetmg from a high desk in the comer of 
the room next the window. There were about thirty or forty 
people present. It was a gospel address from a part of the 
stor}^ of Boaz and Ruth, which history he was going through on 
successive Sunday evenings. It is a singularly beautiful type of 
Christ and His Church. I found, afterwards, it was a favourite 
method with Islx. Gosse to illustrate the New through the charac- 
ters of the Old Testament. He would say, "There is but one 
key, whereby we are able to unlock the hidden treasures contained 
in the Bible, and this one key — which is Christ — aided by that 
spiritual discernment of sacred things, which the Holy Spirit 
alone can give, will enable us to unfold and open many hidden 
truths, lying far beneath the surface of apparently simple narrative, 
but which will be found to be highly typical of our Saviour, the 
Redeemer of His Church, of His person, and of His work." 

After the meeting was over, my friend and I walked with Mr. 
Gosse and his little son as far as Sandhurst gate. Before we 
parted, he told Mr. Curtis that there were Scripture-reading meet- 
ings held at his house, and that he would be pleased to see him 
and any friends who liked to accompany him. We returned to 
the cottage, well pleased with the minister and his courteous and 
kind manner to us as strangers. At this time, he was deeply 
engaged in literary work, bringing out his Roma?ice of Natural 
History and completing his Acti?iologia Britannica. He was in the 
full vigour and swing of his useful life, ardent and enthusiastic in 
ever}' movement. Two or three times a week he and his son, who 
was always with him — " the little naturahst," as he had been called 
in one of his father's books — would go, when the tide was fittest, 
with a basket, filled with many bottles and jars of various size, 
chisel, hammer, and other implements, to the shores far and near. 
They might often be seen, running and jumping down the 
declivities of the rocks, till they reached the pebbly shores at 
Oddicombe or Babbicombe. 

His study, which I was permitted to look into on a later visit, 

APPENDIX /. 355 

was the largest sitting-room on the lower floor of his house, and 
was his workshop. Shelves surrounded the walls, filled with 
books ready for reference on each branch of his many literary 
studies; a large glass-fronted bookcase stood against the wall, 
opposite to the chair in which he sat always, during the winter, 
with his back to the fire, at a large table covered with books, 
papers, and implements. On his Itft hand, close to the window, 
was a long narrow table, upon which were shallow aquaria of 
various sizes, round, long, and square ; one with three tall glass 
sides and a slate at the back to keep out the strong light from 
the window looking south-east — the first sea-anemone tank made 
for private use. These tanks were all filled with salt water, which, 
being kept mechanically in agitation, did not need frequent re- 
newal, but strict attention to take out the dying animals. The 
clearness of the water was aided by seaweeds of brilliant hues. 
Into these tanks he brought the sea-anemones, small fish, and 
divers curious things, whose habits he closely watched, and whose 
forms he examined and drew faithfully. 

He was an accomplished and most delicate draughtsman. His 
rapid eye would discover the various and minutest characteristics, 
and then classify them, ready to write their future history in his 
attractive manner. Some of his books he lent us to read, which 
formed an interesting topic of conversation during his increasingly 
frequent visits to the Cottage. 

Mr. Gosse's most intimate friend at this time was Dr. J. E. 
Gladstone, cousin of the late Premier, who was the clerg\-man of 
the Furrough Cross Church, a free church built a few years before 
by Sir Culling Eardley Smith and others, in consequence of the 
very High Church doctrines then held in the parish of St. Mary- 
church. Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Gosse together instituted Bible 
readings, at which many intelligent Christians from Torquay and Sl 
Marychurch met to read and have conversation over the Word of 
God. These were held at Sandhurst once a week, and continued, 
with but few intermissions, until my husband's last illness. 

He manifested the same eager and enthusiastic spirit in his 
study of Divine things, as in his scientific pursuits. He studied 
the Bible as he would study a science. He must know what each 
separate portion was about, who the inspired writer was, what he 
was wishing to say, and for what purpose it was written ; also how it 


was connected by prophecy or quotation with the New Testament, 
either in the Gospels or in the Epistles. He was microscopic in 
his readings, and in his interpretations of the Word of God, for he 
most impUcitly believed every word of the original languages to be 
Divine, and dictated and written, through the writers, by the Holy 
Ghost. These languages, through their antiquity, are necessarily 
obscure ; thus he was content to leave many passages and even 
chapters unexplained, satisfied that they never contradicted each 
other. Where two sides of a doctrine or subject are decidedly 
stated, he would reverently stand, and say, "There they are! 
I cannot put them together, but God can. I leave it to Him 
and am silent. Only through the Holy Spirit can it be received 
into the heart." This mode of thought was characteristic of Philip 
Henry Gosse. He had a wide grasp of the Holy Scriptures. He 
spoke of them as if the key had been given to us, and he sought 
to unlock their stores. He was familiar with the letter from a 
child, and, having been brought up in the old Puritan school, 
he was thoroughly sound in all the cardinal points of Evangelical 

On July 9, i860, I see noted in his diary, " There was a large 
meeting at the new room in Fore Street, St. Marychurch." This 
chapel, which he had built, being now finished, the Church and 
congregation removed to it ; and henceforward the meetings were 
continued there. The routine was the "breaking of bread," 
prayer, singing hymns, and a discourse by Mr. Gosse as the pastor 
of the Church. In the evenings, a gospel sermon by him. 

During this summer he occasionally brought up to the Cottage 
his microscope or some natural history objects, and gave a familiar 
lecture on them. Some young friends were staying with us, and 
we all benefited by his interesting and cheerful remarks. These 
occasional visits were looked forward to by us all with great pleasure. 
The party sometimes accompanied him to the beach at Oddicombe 
or Babbicombe, when he always took great pains to show his mode 
of collecting, and sometimes brought out new and curious and 
lovely creatures, when we gathered around and exclaimed, in our 
ignorance of such matters, " How beautiful ! how wonderful ! " 
and at the end agreed that we had spent a delightful morning. 

My sister, in July, left Torquay, and I remained at Upton 
Cottage the rest of the summer, as we had let our house at 

APPENDIX 1. 357 

Saffron Walden for two years. I resolved in my mind that for the 
remaining Sundays, I would go with my friends to the little 
meeting in Fore Street, St. Marychurch. Many years before, whilst 
paying a visit at Clifton to an old friend, we had together attended 
the Church led by Mr. George Miiller, of the Orphanage, Bristol, 
whose principles were those of "Brethren;" and on another 
occasion I had been the guest of Sir Alexander Campbell at 
Exeter. Their views had taken considerable hold on my own 
mind, and made a strong and lasting impression. Thus, I was 
prepared, even after the lapse of many years, to attend like meet- 
ings with pleasure and profit ; especially as they were led by one 
so able, so intelligent, and so spiritually minded, as was Mr. Gosse. 
On September 3, i860, I left Torquay, as I supposed finally, 
and returned to the house of an uncle and aunt at Frome, as to 
a temporary home. I took leave of my friends at the Cottage, 
and of Mr. Gosse and his son at Sandhurst, after a most pleasant 
stay of eight months. However, as God had planned it, on 
September 6 I had a letter from Mr. Gosse, proposing and urging, 
in strong terms, that I should become his wife. This certainly 
was no little surprise to me. However, after a week or two of 
consideration and consulting my friends, I accepted the offer of 
his hand. 

On the 2ist he came to Frome to visit me. We were married 
at Frome on December 18, i860, and came direct to Sandhurst. 
I see our marriage noted in his diary, date December 18 : "I 
was married at Zion Chapel, Frome, by the Rev. D. Anthony, 
to my beloved Eliza Brightwen ; and after refection, we left by 
train and got to Sandhurst about nine." It had been fine in the 
morning, but by the time we arrived at Sandhurst a deep snow 
had fallen ; and the next morning, geraniums and other plants, 
carefully stored, were all drooping their heads and almost killed. 
So ends this memorable time. I had a hearty welcome from my 
dear little stepson, of whom I had already seen a good deal, and 
who was warmly attached to me. My beloved husband and he 
made me quite at home, telling me many of their old traditions 
and amusing family stories, with much fun, and we had quite a 
merry breakfast. I soon found out that Mr. Gosse had a good 
deal of humour and fun when quite in the intimacy of his home, 
notwithstanding that to his circle of friends and neighbours he 


was grave and somewhat stern, as became one who had taken 
the position of pastor. 

It was his custom to call the servants in for reading the Scrip- 
tures, and for prayer, every morning after breakfast. We all had 
our Bibles, to follow him in the reading ; he made many remarks 
illustrating the subject in hand, which rendered it a very interest- 
ing and instructive Bible lesson. The same routine was carried 
on every evening, before supper, at about nine o'clock. His 
manner with the servants was kindly, but always firm ; and 
I soon learned that he bore ride in his family. He always had 
a "good night" for the servants and "God bless you," and a 
greeting in the morning. He kept early hours, breakfasting at 
7.30 even all through the winter months, which hour we kept 
up to the end. He was a most industrious man, generally in 
his study between five and six o'clock. I found no difficulty in 
falling in with his habits of early hours, or with his punctuality 
throughout the day, having been brought up in somewhat homely 
and orderly habits ; so that after we got settled together, I soon 
fell into his ways. When the weather was fine, we used to walk 
together, and when the tides were suitable, we made expeditions 
to the rocks to collect the sea-animals. 

In the mornings I used to sit with him in his study, copying or 
rendering some necessary help. After a time, he began to take 
me round to the cottages of the sick and poor of his congregation. 
We had thus an insight into the life of the Devonshire people, 
which was very interesting to us both. He was a great favourite 
among his people, and a visit from Mr. Gosse was always con- 
sidered an honour, and a profit too, as he would discuss some 
instructive (generally Bible) subject, and thus place himself on 
easy terms with them. This practice he kept up for a few years, 
until, the numbers of his flock having become more numerous, he 
found visiting too fatiguing. He had few friends of his own rank, 
but there were some with whom we exchanged visits, and who 
came to the Scripture-reading meetings at Sandhurst one morning 
in each week. 

He never opened out to general visitors. He always spoke of 
himself as a shy man. Some might think him stern and unsocial ; 
he was a recluse, and a thorough student in all his ways, and a 
true "home bird." Often when, in after years, I remonstrated 


with him on his isolation, and urged him to go out more among 
his friends, he would say, " My darling, * my mind to me a kingdom 
is,' " which might seem a trifle selfish, if selfishness could be con- 
sidered at all a constituent in the heart of my beloved husband. 
He was of a remarkably even disposition. I never saw him give 
way to those frailties or minor faults that are so often exhibited 
in the lives of less exalted, or of uncontrolled characters. His 
life was given to studies of a grave and more or less religious 
nature, or else to closely thought-out scientific studies, especially 
those of natural objects. His mind being habitually occupied 
with this higher order of thoughts, he seemed to find it impos- 
sible to unbend to the lighter topics of everyday conversation. 
He was wont to excuse himself by saying, " I have no small talk." 

In 1S64, when he was writing A Year at the Shore in the 
spring, we three had great pleasure in walking or driving, as the 
case might be, to the various bays and rocky shores of the 
Devonshire coast. My dear husband and son would rush down, 
with strong india-rubber boots or sea-shoes, and work hard, with 
hammer and chisel, carefully taking off the anemones and other 
sea-animals from the rocks, or fishing in the pools for ^vrasse, 
blennies, pipe-fish, or other sea-creatures, while I would sit on a 
camp stool, either watching them, sometimes with a field-glass, 
or reading, or drawing some of the lovely sea-views in my 
sketch-book. Then, when we got home, there was the eager 
looking over the haul, and putting the creatures in large basins 
to be watched and drawn, till they could finally be placed in 
the tanks. Thus, subjects were prepared for each month in 
the year, and this gave us much occupation before A Year at the 
Shore was completed. 

That year, 1864, I had a considerable accession of property, 
which was valuable as giving my husband more rest and enabling 
him to have more leisure ; so that he did not need any longer to 
work, either in wTiting or in lecturing. In 1866 he began to take 
a great interest in some of the rarer kind of plants, especially 
orchids, which he had always gready admired, and had collected 
to hang in his house, when he was in Jamaica twenty years earher. 
This remembrance brought afresh the interest before him. He 
had built a small plant-house against the westerly side of our 
dwelling-house. The boiler for heating the pipes was put on the 


foundation of the cellar under the drawing-room ; this had the 
additional value of warming our house, which before was a very 
cold one. This he afterwards enlarged, and eventually our 
garden contained no fewer than five hothouses or conservatories. 

x\fter the first small importation of orchids, w^hich w^as not, by 
the way, very successful, though of great interest to us, and helpful 
in teaching the gardener the management and culture of these 
difficult and rare plants, he continued to make additions, partly 
through sales at plant auctions, and partly through orchid 
gardeners ; buying small plants and growing them on, till they 
are now become good specimens, and interesting objects of 
instruction and pleasure. His gardener was specially facile in 
reception of his instructions, and in a few years learned the 
treatment, and was so successful, both in growing the orchids, as 
well as other rare plants, that his master left them very much to 
his knowledge of the treatment and care. 

In 1867 Captain Bulger, an Indian officer, who afterwards 
went to the Cape, repeatedly sent a small cargo of valuable 
plants; one plant among them especially, which we have kept 
until the present time, greatly interested my husband, but it was 
not until 1889 that it flowered for the first time. The bulb above 
ground is a very large onion-shaped one; the long narrow and 
stiff leaves from it are of a peculiarly wavy and fan-shaped growth. 
The flowers, which are bright pink and small, come upon a wide 
flat stem, about twelve inches high, in a bunch spreading out to 
fourteen inches in diameter_, and over one hundred in number, 
and are of the Hexandria order. It is extremely rare in England, 
and has been named by the Horticultural Society Brimswigia 
Josephine. Captain Bulger, whom my husband had never seen, 
was gready attached to him through his books, and entered into 
correspondence, which lasted until the captain's death in Canada. 

In 1866 my dear husband went to London — the first time since 
our marriage that he had left me for more than a day. He took 
his son to enter the British Museum, and to settle him in 

In 1868 my husband and I paid an interesting visit to Poole, 
in Dorsetshire — the place where he had been brought up by 
his parents from two years old. We walked around to see all 
the familiar places— the home of his parents, in Skinner Street^ 



which was a narrow cul-de-sac, with the Independent Chapel 
on the opposite side of this little street, where the family 
attended. He and his brother had been in the choir, William 
having played the violin. We obtained leave to go inside his old 
dwelling ; and there he searched all the rooms, and endeavoured 
to see if any traces existed of sentences and aphorisms, which 
he and his brothers used to \\Tite under the chimney-slab or 
other places. At length, he found, in a corner of the ceiling, some 
lines of his own writing, fifty years old, but still unobliterated by 
cleaning or whitewash. The old familiar water-butt in the corner 
of the litde back-yard, and other reminiscences, brought back 
many of his youthful thoughts, occupations, and amusements; 
the harbour and quay, from whence, as a boy, leaving the parental 
roof, he went out to Newfoundland. 

We walked to see the old oak tree in a field outside the town, 
in which he used to sit on Saturday afternoons and half-holidays, 
\\-ith his great friend and favourite school-fellow, John Brown, 
reading and discussing their histories and their little empires and 
infant zoological studies, thus sowing the seeds of that incipient 
life, which afterwards developed into his great, extended, and 
accomplished mind. He made a sketch of the fine Poole 
Harbour and Brownsea Island, sand rocks. Old Harry CHff, from 
Parkstone, where we walked several times to visit our kind friend, 
Walter Gill, who kept a large school there. This view we painted 
together in water colours, and finished when we got back to 
Sandhurst ; it is framed and hangs in the dining-room to this day, 
with many other landscapes, which his skilful hand drew from the 

A little later, when the interest of the orchids wore off, and his 
gardener had attained sufficient skill to cultivate them indepen- 
dently, he began to form a collection of foreign butterflies, for 
which he had considerable facilities. Through his scientific 
knowledge, he had large acquaintance with men who, in this line, 
were able to help to secure valuable and choice specimens. 
These he obtained chiefly from the tropics, by writing to persons 
and collectors named to him, who would send considerable 
numbers of butterflies, their wings folded when life was just 
extinct ; being put in three-cornered envelopes, they would travel 
well, being packed together in cigar and similar boxes. He 

362 APPENDIX 1. 

would make his selection of half a dozen or so, and send the 
remainder to London, or to dealers in other places, who would 
make their principal remuneration out of them. He would 
frequently write to missionaries and others, desiring them to 
collect for him at their leisure, liberally refunding them for time 
and labour. 

A very interesting and intimate intercourse of this kind was 
thus opened up with a family of young brothers in the Argentine 
Republic ; four young men, the Messrs. Perrens, relations of 
some dear friends of ours in Torquay, with whom we have for 
many years kept up a bright and happy friendship. 

The relaxing these butterflies and fixing them in the cabinets 
was an occupation of deep interest to us. The strict order and 
arrangement, with the name of every insect and its habitat, 
written in his beautiful handwriting, makes these cabinets most 
valuable. Many an hour has been spent in looking them over 
with our friends ; his eagerness in opening the drawers of the 
cabinets, with his valuable remarks, information, and the inci- 
dents attaching to individual specimens, made these visits most 
instructive as well as interesting. He was always willing to impart 
amusement and information when he saw that it was valued. 

My husband could very rarely be induced to leave home, but 
in 1869, at the end of September, we decided to make a short 
outing, and we started in a carriage for Haytor, on Dartmoor. 
We stayed at the Rock Inn, and took several excursions ; and 
Mr. Gosse made drawings of various scenes. The Haytor Rock 
he sketched most enthusiastically after his usual manner. The 
weather changed to wet and very misty, but he was very desirous 
of getting several sacks full of sphagnu??i moss for his orchids. The 
squeezing of the water out of this moss gave him cold, and produced 
violent pain in his hands. He became so unwell that we were 
obliged to return home at the end of a fortnight. After a few 
days his physician. Dr. Finch, pronounced him suffering from 
rheumatic gout in his hands ; it also attacked his knees. Several 
treatments were applied, and he kept his room some weeks, but 
gradually got worse. In November he went to Torquay to try 
the Turkish baths. He took them twice a week, and continued 
them to the end of the year. He gave up the Bible-reading 
meetings, and also all the chapel services for a while; but he 


found at length that his limbs became easier, and by the end 
of the year he resumed his work. 

In 1874 he had attacks of what seemed to be a form of 
aphasia, and though they were not alarming, he was prevailed 
upon to make another excursion. A trip to Derbyshire was 
selected; though it was rather late in the year, we started for 
Matlock Bath. We left home November 12, 1874, slept at 
Gloucester, and went on the next morning to Matlock, where we 
got lodgings on a very high point overlooking the winding river, 
the Dove, and with a charming view on to the hanging woods the 
other side. Though these trees were leafless, the branches were 
often so covered by the light and white frost, that on several of the 
November mornings they looked like fairyland. We made some 
very interesting excursions in the neighbourhood, which all 
tended to re-establish health. One of my sisters made us a visit 
here on her way home to Manchester, which greatly heightened 
our pleasure. We returned home in the early part of December. 

In 1875 ^'^^ d^^^y shows that my husband had become interested 
in a variety of evangelical missions. Many letters were written, 
and donations given to colonial objects and others. We were 
made acquainted with Miss Walker Arnott's work in Jaffa. In 
the diary notice is made of Katrina Abou Sitte, a Mahomedan 
orphan and Syrian child, ten years old, selected by Miss W. 
Arnott as our protegee for ten pounds per annum, to be given by 
us for her board and schooling at Jaffa. This was continued for 
several years, till she left; she has since been married to a 
Christian Jew. We have frequently had very sweet and grateful 
letters from her, calling us her "English parents," often with 
small presents made of products of the country and from Jeru- 
salem, where they were living. Mr. Gosse also took up with con- 
siderable eagerness Mr. Pascoe's mission-work in Toluca, Mexico, 
and carried on a pleasant correspondence with that gentleman, 
helping him to continue his printing work in that place. He 
became a liberal contributor to the China Island ^lission. Mr. 
Guinness's work and institute had also a large share of his help and 

At this time we engaged a Bible woman of our own to visit 
in St. Marychurch. My husband took up once more, for a while, 
the consecutive and orderly visiting of the poor and sick of his 


flock, to all of whom he was kind and liberal. He was the sole 
pastor and conductor of all the meetings, both at the Table of 
the Lord, in worship, and in the preaching. His discourses 
were mainly expository. He was accustomed to take a whole 
chapter or chapters of a Gospel or an Epistle, focussing all the 
salient points, and then turning to other portions of Scripture 
which would shed light, or to quotations that would explain the 
subject in hand. In the Old Testament he would take a cha- 
racter, bringing out the important features, or it might be those 
prophetical of the future, thus making a Biblical figure stand out, 
with all the motives that actuated him, either for good or evil, 
as the case might be. These discourses were most attractive 
and enjoyable. He always kept very close to Scripture, knowing a 
good deal of the Greek and something of the Hebrew language. 

All this labour, besides his scientific work, collecting at the 
shores, his tanks, his cabinets, his plant-houses, are minutely 
tabulated in folios and diaries; histories of many specimens 
written in full ; contributions to scientific societies, which occu- 
pied his mornings in examinations in the microscope and other 
work. All this tells what an industrious man he was. In a 
letter to a friend, who sent him a manuscript to look over and 
criticize, he says, " I am sorry to have kept your manuscript so 
long, but I could read it only at caught intervals, for my time is 
most pressingly occupied. I am generally in my study soon after 
five a.m. ; and, what with the work of the Lord and some scientific 
investigations, which, I hope, will bring glory to Him, I know not 
what leisure means." And this letter was written in June, 1881, 
when he was in his seventy-second year. 

My son has described the manner in which, in 1876, his father 
returned to the study of marine animals. This led him once more 
to take frequent excursions to the sea-shore, in which I was his 
constant companion. The living objects which he discovered 
were brought home and placed in the large show-tank, which 
about this time he fitted up in a small room at the back of our 
dwelling-house. When he went out dredging, or collecting on 
the rocks which he had to approach in a boat, I was not so com- 
monly his companion. The filling of the tank and the watching 
of the animals as they made themselves at home in its corners 
and crevices was an unceasing source of pleasure to us both. In 


1878 I recollect that an octopus was offered to us by the son of 
a Babbicombe fisherman, who had taken it in a trammel-net. We 
hesitated, but at last decided to buy it for the large sum of fifteen- 
])ence. In the afternoon the boy brought it up, and my husband 
turned it into the lobster's corner of the large tank. It was 
indeed a hideous beast, the body about the size of a large lemon. 
It was very vigorous and active, yet not wild. After an hour or 
two, while I was present, it pushed up into the further angle of 
the glass partition, and managed to squeeze its body through into 
the area of the tank, and presently found a place for itself near 
the bottom of the middle of the glass tank, clinging with coiled 
arms to the glass. A month later, the best tide of the whole 
year, my husband and I drove to Goodrington Sands, where, at 
the central ledges, he made a good collecting. A young lady 
who was catching prawns gave us some, and our driver-boy found 
a hole in which my husband took a wonderful number of fine 
large prawns, squat lobsters, with others, and a large plant of 
Trid(za edulis. All the above were lodged in the tank in good 
condition. A crab, we gave to the octopus, who instantly seized 
and devoured it, together with the head of a large fish and a 
dead giant prawn. In November the octopus became languid 
for a few days, hiding in the remotest corners— we thought 
shrinking from the severe cold that had set in. It died on the 
8th, after having lived with us nearly ten weeks. 

All these recreations were a great rest to Philip Gosse's active 
brain, as the exercises and air were healthful to his body, and to 
me they were a source of very great enjoyment. My husband 
was a true naturalist, and the fact that for many years he got 
his livelihood by writing books on natural history, wandering 
among the rocks and pools, mingling all his thoughts and sympa- 
thies with the God who formed these wonderful varieties of 
creation, gave a zest to his life which sedentary reading or 
authorship in his study could never have realized. 

As Kingsley has said, " Happy truly is the naturalist ! He has 
no time for melancholy dreams. The earth becomes transparent ; 
everywhere he sees significance, harmonies, laws, chains of cause 
and effect endlessly interlinked, which draw him out of the narrow 
sphere of self into a pure and wholesome region of joy and 
wonder." My dear husband was essentially a religious man. 


The attitude of his mind was heavenly ; and only in the face of 
God, as a Father in Christ, could he enjoy the marvels of nature. 
The psalm was often on his lips, " Thy works are great, sought 
out of all them that have pleasure therein." 

About this time (May, 1877), I was paying a visit to a relative in 
Somersetshire, and in an evening walk found a spot in a lane 
where were a number of glow-worms, some of which I sent home. 
He put them on some grass in the garden, and m his next letter 
he asks me to send him some more. He says, " Can you not per- 
suade your cousin or some gentleman to go with you a night walk, 
and get some more glow-worms, for I think I can keep them lumi- 
nous for some while ? You ask what they are ? Glow-worms are 
beetles ; but the female sex has neither wings nor wing-sheaths, 
and it is the female alone that is luminous. They belong to a 
family of the great class Beetles (Coleoptera), which are remark- 
ably soft-bodied all their life. The cantharides or blister-flies 
belong to the same family. There is scarcely any visible differ- 
ence in form between the grub and the perfected female ; the 
male, however, has large, but flexible, parchment-like wing-cases. 
In most of the foreign species (there are many in Jamaica, for 
example) both sexes are luminous." Having lived in Jamaica 
so long begat in him the love for animal and insect life, as also 
vegetable life in the tropics. 

Before he went to Jamaica he met with some dear friends, 
in intercourse with whom, as previously related in the former 
part of this life, his religious views underwent an entire change. 
He speaks of them in a late letter to Mr. George Pearce, now 
engaged with his wife in missionary labour in the north of Africa : 
"It is always pleasant to receive a letter from you, and with you 
to go back along the memories of more than forty years, to 
those happy days, so loaded with blessing for my whole life since, 
when we met, a loving and happy band, around the table of dear 
W. Berger and his wife M. Berger in Wells Street night after 
night, while the Holy Ghost poured into our receptive hearts * the 
testimony of Jesus,' and began at last to make ' the word of the 
Christ to dwell in us richly in all wisdom.' A few weeks ago our 
beloved and bereaved brother, W. Berger, kindly came down on 
purpose to stay a few days with us, to renew that happy intercourse 
which is ever vivid with myself." 


In another letter to the same friend, he recurs to that happy- 
period of his younger hfe : " How sweet the assurance of your 
undying love, and how sweet the recollection of that happy early 
time, when God gave me the precious gift of personal acquaint- 
ance with you and otlier dear brethren. What ?i pmiclum saliens 
was that in my life ! I had been reared by godly parents 
{Iridepoidcnts). About a year before I knew you, my friend 
Matthew Habershon had lent me his two volumes on prophecy, 
which first opened my eyes to the pre-millennial Advent of our 
Lord. The first volume I began after closing my school on a 
summer evening (June, 1842) ; and before I went to bed, I had read 
it right through. I possessed a very full knowledge of the letter 
of Scripture from childhood, so that the proofs of the doctrine 
commended themselves to me as I read without cavil. It was a 
glorious truth to me. I hailed the coming Jesus with all my 
heart. So absorbed was I, that when at length I finished the 
book, I could not, for some considerable time, realize where I 
was ; it seemed another world ! From that time I began to pray 
that I might be privileged to wait till my Lord should come, and 
go up to Him without having been unclothed. Forty long years 
have passed. I am now a man of grey hairs ; but I never cease 
to ask this privilege of my loving God (Luke xxi. 36), and every 
day I ask it still. Of course, I have no assurance that so it will be. 
I have no such revelation as Simeon had (see Luke ii. 26) ; but I 
wait, I hope, I pray." This hope of being caught up before 
death continued to the last, and its non-fulfilment was an acute 
disappointment to him. It undoubtedly was connected with the 
deep dejection of his latest hours on earth. 

In another letter he wrote to this same friend in North Africa, 
1 88 1, he says, " Within a few years back, when the sole ministry in 
Marychurch and the pastorate there had become somewhat too 
much for my advancing years (I am now in my seventy-second 
year), a loving Christian gentleman, Mr. William King Perrens, 
who had had experience in the same work, came to reside in oirr 
neighbourhood, and he has now, with my wishes, become a sharer 
with me in the oversight, and we labour together in fullest harmony. 
There are now about one hundred and twenty in fellowship and 
in ' the breaking of bread,' mostly poor and working people in 
the midst of much worldliness and Popery, and we wait for our 


Lord's promised return in those views of Divine prophecy which 
you knew I held diverse from those held usually by ' Brethren ' so 
called fifty years ago." 

Mr. Perrens, though looking for the return of the Lord Jesus, 
did not accept the " year-day " system or the historical fulfilment 
throughout the age, or dispensation, of the prophecies, either 
of the Book of Daniel or the Revelation ; but this divergence 
of opinion did not hinder their mutual regard and united labour 
for the Lord. My husband followed the old-fashioned Protestant 
scheme held by Scott the commentator, Bishop Newton, ElHott, 
Bosanquet, and, lastly, H. Grattan Guinness, who has so ably 
written The Approaching End of the Age, viewed in the light 
of history, prophecy, and science. This mode looks on "the 
times of the Gentiles" as starting from Nebuchadnezzar, into 
whose hands God gave the kingdoms of the earth, after He had 
taken the kingdom from Israel, " who shall be led away captive 
into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the 
Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled." 

These subjects of prophecy from the Scriptures were, in detail, 
under the constant study of my dear husband in some form or 
other. He had a large number of books in his library, both 
ancient and modern, dealing with these prophecies. He was a 
daily reader of the Times newspaper ; he used to say the great 
object of his reading this paper was to see " the decadence of the 
nations, both Eastern and Western, in their downward progress." 
He always kept his Polyglot Bible on the chimney-piece at his 
right hand, and that was continually brought down on any new 
event — war or collision among the nations — to see if it could 
be possible to glean any fresh light from the Prophets on the 
occasion of this fresh outbreak ; especially the Eastern Question 
would give eager aspirations towards the break up of the Turkish 
empire, and the setting Palestine free for the return of Israel. 

This year, 1884, he brought out a new edition of his Evenings 
at the Microscope, correcting and enlarging some portions of the 
book. This was not his own property, as he had written it some 
twenty years earlier for the Society for Prom.oting Christian 

This year also he began to write expositions of Scripture ; 
some were from notes of his Sunday morning discourses taken by 


a friend at the time, afterwards published in a small volume as 
The Mysteries of God. This was to him a deeply interesting 
work for God, and written with much prayer that it might be 
blessed to His children. He had so often been requested by 
members of his congregation, and others, to write and publish 
his discourses, that at length he consented. As he went on with 
these expositions, they were of the deepest interest to us both, 
unfolding so much of Scripture that had not, in its fullest depth, 
been previously discovered to us, especially in the three chapters 
on ** The Psalms." He says at the commencement : '^ An effort 
is here made, in the fear of God, to search for heavenly wisdom as 
for hid treasure beneath the surface of the Word ; to examine the 
lively oracles as with a microscope, persuaded they will be found 
well worthy of the closest research. Some of the essays may 
seem to some abstruse, and may be thought to be mere idle 
speculation. But, if carefully weighed, I hope they will be 
found to rest on the revealed mind of God in every particular. 
I have advanced nothing. I have anticipated nothing on mere 
speculation. For every statement that I have made I have 
aimed to rest on the inspired Word. I have desired strictly to 
limit myself to the elucidation of what is written in the Book. 
The constant reference to the very words of the Holy Ghost will, 
I trust, plead my apology for what may seem a dogmatic tone. 
As His trumpet gives no uncertain sound, so, as the whole tenour 
of Scripture shows, believers are expected to k7iowvi'\\\\ confidence 
the things which are freely given them of God. We have the 
mind of Christ." 

My dear husband was especially scriptural on the atoning 
sacrifice of Christ, who suffered, "the just for the unjust;" also 
on the supernatural humanity and sinlessness of the Son of 
Man. He expressly states, "I hold that, under the righteous 
government of God, suffering of any kind or degree is impossible, 
save as the just wages of sin. But since the holy Child Jesus 
suffered as soon as He came into the world, as He was made 
under the Law, and since in Him was no sin, of what was this 
suffering the wages, but of that iniquity of us all, laid on Him, 
exacted, and for which He became answerable? (Isa. liii. 6, 7). 

" The Psalms reveal to us that the Holy One was vicariously 
bearing throughout His life the iniquity and reproach of man, 

2 B 


and various pains of body, though all of these in varying measures, 
and probably with longer or shorter intermission. The Father's 
personal complacency in Him, and His loving confidence in the 
Father, were in no sense inconsistent with vicarious enduring. 
All suffering He ever bore, He bore as our vicarious Substitute, 
as second Adam, with culmination of pressure at the garden and 
the Cross ; but he never lost sight of the love of the Father. All, 
all helped to pay the ' ten thousand talents ' of our debt to God. 
In Him is no sin ! " 

In 1884 my dear husband had the first symptoms of diabetes. 
He was sometimes much depressed, but the doctor's good care and 
a prescribed diet strengthened him, and he recovered. Notwith- 
standing depression, I see by the diary of that year that his 
great energy of mind enabled him to get through much general 
reading. In the autumn and winter months he subscribed to 
Mudie's Library, as had been his habit for some years. He was 
a rapid reader, and got through a large number of books of 
various interest, chiefly in the evenings — travels of naturalists ; 
histories of all parts of the world ; missionary exploits largely. 
He watched with great interest the development and opening 
of that wonderful quarter of the world, the " Dark Continent." 
By these means his general depression wore off, and he grew 
more cheerful. He was more indoors than usual, being afraid 
of the inclemency of the weather, until the summer of 1885 came, 
when he resumed his usual outdoor exercise. 

It was always a great delight to him to watch the signs of 
spring and early summer. He was up early in the morning, with 
his study window open for the fresh air, listening for the first 
voice of the cuckoo, or for the songs of the many birds which 
used to congregate in the trees around. There was one which 
we called " the cuckoo tree " in a near meadow, which we could 
see from the upper windows of our house. He always tried to 
be the first who heard or saw this bird, which for many years 
came there. In the diary I see frequently, " I walked round by 
(or through) the cuckoo meadow and sat under the tree, the bird 
voicing over my head." Of late years there were so many 
inhabited houses that this bird almost ceased to appear : quite a 
disappointment to him. 

I find by the end of this year The Mysteries of God was 


published. It was received very favourably by the religious 
press, and there were many interesting letters from those who 
appreciated the book. 

The following years, from 1885 to 1887, saw him returning to 
the old occupation and study of the Rotifera, or " wheel-animal- 
cules." He became acquainted with Dr. Hudson, of Clifton, 
and with him brought out the two volumes of The Rotifera, or 
W/ieel-Animalcules. His ardour and persistency in the micro- 
scopical study of these minute animals at his advanced age were 
remarkable. He was whole days with the microscope before 
him in his study, interrupted only by correspondence with 
various students over England, Europe, and America. 

In our frequent drives, when this study could be intermitted, 
we would, with bottles in baskets, search the dirty ditches, and 
sundry ponds and puddles, for these tiny, almost invisible, animal- 
cules. Three young ladies, daughters of some intimate friends 
about three miles distant, were enlisted into the work of pro- 
curing " ditch-water " to be examined, and it was a great amuse- 
ment in their various walks to bottle up the water. 

I must not omit to say that, during parts of these years, he was 
occupied in the study of the heavenly bodies. We had a good 
telescope, through which, on clear and starry nights in the 
autumn, we obtained a very fair idea of the principal constella- 
tions, double stars, and nebulae. An accident happened to this 
telescope, and it was rendered useless ; but through The Bazaar 
he obtained, from a clergyman in Worcester, a more powerful one, 
which gave us further vision into the wonderful space of these 
far-off worlds. The sequel of this deeply interesting study towards 
the end of 1887 brings me to the close of this valuable life. The 
winter nights became cold, and his ardour to stand adjusting the 
instrument at open windows brought on an attack of bronchitis, 
which at the beginning of 1888 settled into a serious illness. 
Mischief at the heart was discovered by the doctor, and although 
we still took short walks and drives together into the country 
for some little time, his health soon proved to be broken. 

January 8 was the last time he was able to expound the 
Scriptures at the chapel. He gradually gave up all study, and, 
indeed, all reading. It seemed that his brain was entirely unable 
to receive mental impressions. He was obliged to spend nearly 


the whole night sitting in his chair by the fireside, his breathing 
being so difficult that he could not lie down in his bed. He 
became unable to walk upstairs, and therefore two of our good 
carriage-drivers always came in about eight o'clock, and carried 
him up to his room. Friends frequently dropped in to see him in 
the morning ; it seemed to give him some satisfaction to receive 
them, though he was not able to converse much. His son's wife 
came dow^n to us from London, and we had the comfort of her 
help and company every day. In his calmer and more lucid 
moments he described himself as still expecting the personal 
coming of the Lord. Even within the last fortnight, seeing me 
distressed, he said, "Oh, darling, don't trouble. It is not too 
late; even now the Blessed Lord may come and take us both 
up together." I believe he was buoyed up almost to the last with 
this strong hope. 

I was often surprised to find how entirely he had lost interest 
in all his beloved studies. For the last two months he entered 
his study but twice— once to glance at his accustomed Greek 
New Testament, which he left open at the Gospel of John xvii. ; 
and again, for the last time, to look cursorily round. The last 
evening it happened that he was carried upstairs by our kind and 
diligent Bible reader for the villagers. This was a week before he 
died. He never came dow^nstairs again, but remained, with but 
little intelHgent expression, until August 23, 1888, at one o'clock 
in the morning, when he passed in his sleep to be with his 
expected Lord. He was very restless nearly the whole of that 
night, but towards midnight he became quiet. To the nurse who 
was with him he said, " It is all over. The Lord is near ! I am 
going to my reward ! " Early in this evening, a kind neighbour, 
Mr. Bullock, had come to his bedside and asked to pray. At 
the end of his prayer the precious sick one seemed to respond 
distinctly, in prayer for all the dear members of his Church, 
that " I may present each of them perfect in Christ Jesus." 

I will insert a slight notice of my husband's character which was 
written by one who knew him well in the latter part of his life, 
published in the Christian. " ' To every man his work.' A 
question arises — Is it possible to separate man's work into two 
parts, and to say this is secular and scientific, and this is religious ? 
We think not. Philip Henry Gosse proved that a man might live 


all his life in the service of God, and, in doing so, serve his own 
generation in the best possible way. His chief glory, indeed, is 
that he so combined science with religion, that we cannot detect 
where the one ends and the other begins, so beautifully are they 
woven together in his works. It is as a truster in, and a revealer 
of God, that he stands forth prominently ; not only God as 
revealed in His Word, but God as declared in His works. To 
him this God was one God, and he was perfectly persuaded that 
the written and the unwritten books could not contradict each 
other. First anchoring himself to God and His Word, he was 
able safely and profitably to explore the wonderful works of the 
Creator, without drifting away into unknown wastes, and losing 
his way altogether. 

" He had learned to distrust his own intellect, and to rely on 
the intellect of God. As a describer of what men call ' natural 
objects,' which are really manifestations of God, Mr. Gosse had 
few equals. His vivid pictures, fitly framed in graceful and 
sparkling language, captivate the mind at once, while his reverent 
spirit cannot but make his readers feel that he is describing what 
he loves as the handiwork of his Father in heaven. 

" Equally happy was his method of expounding the Word of 
God. His sentences were terse, vigorous, and pointed; his 
illustrations apt and unstrained ; while his knowledge of the 
Scriptures, both of the Old and New Covenants, was aston- 

" To say that he never erred in his interpretations of the Word 
would be to say that he was not human. His impulsive, eager 
spirit, combined with the warmth of his imagination, sometimes 
led him, perhaps, into an untenable position, and carried him 
beyond what is written. 

" It is not possible to over-estimate the value of the testimony 
which he has left behind him. Gifted with an extraordinary 
intellect, admired as an author, looked up to as an authority on 
all subjects connected with natural science, having admirable 
conversational powers, Mr. Gosse might, if he had so chosen, 
have occupied a very high and distinguished position in worldly 
society. But he did not so choose. ' Esteeming the reproach of 
Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,' he preferred to 
bury himself in a little country village, and quietly and unobtru- 


sively to serve the Lord Christ. All that he was, and all that he 
had, he laid at the feet of Jesus. 

"Another testimony, most valuable in these days, is the livini^ 
proof which he has afforded that it is possible to be a man of 
science and yet to be a devout believer in the inspired Word of 

"He believed ' «// that the prophets have spoken,' and could 
not tolerate any departure therefrom, either in himself or others. 
This made his utterances sometimes seem stern and dogmatic. 
Having formed an opinion on any matter, he clung to it 
tenaciously, almost to the point of being unyielding, and even 
combative. The inflexibility of his submission to God and His 
Word has, in some quarters, earned for him the epithets of 
'Puritan,' 'ascetic,' 'recluse,' and so on. But how refreshing 
and invigorating is such a decided form of godliness, compared 
with that flaccid, flavourless Christianity and monkish agnosticism 
that is so fashionable in these days. The Lord keep us from being 
neither ' cold nor hot' As to the influence of his life and teaching 
on earlier, present, or future generations, 'the day' alone will 
declare it. If ' salt,' ' light,' and ' living water ' have any preserva- 
tive, beneficial, and fructifying influence on the sons of men, 
then, surely, when the day comes, many will rise up and call him 

Eliza Gosse. 

Jul}\ 1890. 


An account of the religious experiences of my father in 
the year 1842 and onwards I have thought it proper to give 
here, in his own words and without comment. The follow- 
ing passage, written in February, 1888, it maybe interesting 
to note, was only just concluded when his fatal illness 
attacked him, and is the latest of his compositions : — 

A great crisis in my spiritual life was approaching ; for the Holy 
Ghost was about to unfold to me the hope of the personal Advent 
of the Lord Jesus, of which hitherto I had not the slightest concep- 
tion. Two of the most valued of my pupils were Edward and 
Theodore Habershon ; the elder of whom, Edward, a thoughtful 
and very amiable youth of fifteen, had already secured a large 
place in my aftections. He had occasionally spoken to me of his 
father, Matthew Habershon, as an author, and had suggested that 
I might feel interested in his works on sacred prophecy. But I 
had never heard of them or him ; and Edward's words met with 
litde response. One day, however, Mr. Habershon sent for my 
acceptance his Dissertation on the Prophetic Scriptures, second 
edition. It was in June, 1842, when days were at the longest. 
I began to read it after my pupils were dismissed in the afternoon, 
sat in the garden eagerly devouring the pages, and actually finish- 
ing the work (of four hundred octavo pages) before darkness set 
in. When I closed the book, I knew not where I was ; I hatl 
become so wholly absorbed in the great subjects, that some 
minutes elapsed before I could recall my surroundings, before the 
new world of my consciousness did " fade into the light of 
common day." 

Of the Restoration of the Jews, I had received some dim mkhng 


already, perhaps from Croly's Salathiel ; but of the destruction 
of the Papacy, the end of GentiHsm, the kingdom of God, the 
resurrection and rapture of the Church at the personal descent of 
the Lord, and the imminency of this,— all came on me that even- 
ing like a flash of lightning. My heart drank it in with joy ; I 
found no shrinking from the nearness of Jesus. It was indeed a 
revelation to a spirit prepared to accept it. I immediately began 
a practice, which I have pursued uninterruptedly for forty-six 
years, of constantly praying that I may be one of the favoured 
saints who shall never taste of death, but be alive and remain 
until the coming of the Lord, to be "clothed upon with my house 
which is from heaven." 

Subsequently, Mr. Habershon gave me his Historical Exposi- 
tion of the Apocalypse^ two volumes. This also is a work of 
great value, though, as increasing study made me more critical, 
I found numerous matters of detail to which exception might be 
taken; and though his confidently anticipated dates were not 
realized, as, indeed, those of none others are yet, the grand out- 
line of interpretation of Divine prophecy given is beyond dispute. 
But to me, who had known nothing higher than the narrow and 
bald lines of Wesleyanism, it was, as I have said, a glorious un- 
veiling. Its immediate effect was to deliver me from Arminianism, 
on behalf of which I had hotly disputed with my father, only a few 
months before. 

The enlargement of mind and heart thus eff'ected was, doubtless 
operative in the preparation for another important spiritual 
change, — the perception, and then the reception, of what are 
known as " Brethren's principles." And this though there was no 
definite or sensible connection between the two movements in my 
mind. There was living in Hackney a young gentleman, a class- 
leader in the Methodist society, with whom I was on visiting 
terms. His wife was preparing a little brochure for publication, 
and they requested me to give her, professionally, some literary 
assistance in the work. Thus I was thrown much into their 
society; and as they were both earnest believers and both of 
engaging manners and of amiable disposition, the acquaintance 
became unrestrained and very agreeable. One day, Mr. Berger 
observed, " I wish you could know my brother Will; you would be 
much interested in each other!" And soon after he managed 


that his brother should be present on one of my evenings. I was 
charmed wiih William Thomas Berger : his meekness and gentle- 
ness, his exceeding love and grace — the manifest image of Christ 
in him — drew to him my whole heart ; and then began a mutual 
esteem and friendship, which no cloud has ever shadowed from 
that day to this. 

It was about the beginning of the year 1843 ; and presently 
William Berger told me that he was on the eve of marriage, and was 
then just about starting on a wedding tour, but that on his return 
he would be pleased to welcome me to their house. Accordingly 
he and his bride (who had been Miss Van Sommer) renewed the 
invitation in the following May, and I became immediately a 
welcome visitant. She was a very sweet, simple Christian lady, 
very lowly and very loving ; they were indeed true yoke-fellows, 
of one heart and soul, constantly overflowing in kindness towards 
me. Both of them had been for some time prominent in the little 
band in Hackney wdio, discerning the evil of sectarian division 
in the Church of God, had associated together in the Name of 
Jesus only, refusing any distinctive title but that one common to 
all believers, of " Brethren," and including under this appellation 
all who, in every place, love the Lord Jesus Christ, whatever their 
measure of light or scripturalness of practice. That the Church of 
God, and every believer in particular, was called to separation 
from the world, they perceived ; and hence, the connection of the 
Church with the State was totally repudiated. The energy of the 
Holy Spirit m the assembly of the Church was acknowledged, and 
maintained to exist now in the same amplitude as in the 
Apostolic age ; and it was inferred that the liberty of ministry in 
the Church at the present age is exactly that seen in i Cor. xiv. 
In this I judge they were in error ; for this supposes that the 
miraculous gifts (xapto/xara) are still extant, of which there is no 

All this, however, became known to me only by degrees. Until 
I knew the dear Bergers, I was not aware that a movement of this 
character was in existence ; nor had I so much as heard, during 
my three years' residence in Hackney, that in a little retired 
building, called Ellis's Room, a body of Christians holding these 
views met every Lord's day. 

Quite early my new friends invited me to take part in a meeting 


held weekly at their house, for studying the Holy Word.* Of 
such a " Scripture readnig," now so common, I had never heard. 
I found, sitting round a large table in their dining-room, each with 
a Bible before him, about ten persons — William and Mary Berger, 
George Pearse, Capel Berger, Edward Spencer, Edward Hanson, 
James Van Sommer, and perhaps one or two more ; and I took 
my place in the little company. They were engaged on Rom. i., 
and the seventeenth verse occupied the whole evening. Such a 
close and minute digging for hid treasures was a novelty to me ; as 
was also the deference and subjection to the Word of God, and the 
comparing of Scripture with Scripture. The company present were 
pretty uniform in mental power and education ; almost all could 
refer to the Greek original ; and there was unrestrained freedom 
of discussion, and perfect loving confidence. Many points were 
examined ; for the converse was necessarily somewhat desultory. 
Only one prominent topic has fixed itself in my memory, viz. the 
heavenly citizenship. This so amazed me that I exclaimed, *k 

" Because I am a Christian, surely I am not less an Englishman ! " 
Hanson, at whom I looked as I spoke, only shook his head, and 
I was silent ; till, just before the meeting closed, I emphatically 
said, '"I have learned a great truth to-night ! " 

I had already formally severed my connection with the 
Wesleyan society, and now took my place on Lord's day morn- 
ings with the little company (some forty or fifty lowly believers) 
who met to break bread at Ellis's Room : — a change for which I 
have ever since had reason to thank God. 

* My father's memory fails him when he says "quite early." It was in 
A pril, 1S47, that he began to take part in these meetings. — E. G. 



Abaco, Bahamas, ii8 

Abraham and his Children, Mrs. Emily 

Gosse's, 256 
Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia, 


Actinia. See Sea-Anemones 

Actinologia Britannica, ib. 

Alabama, life and scenery in, 124-148 

Alder, Joshua, 243, 2'j6 

American ideas of British, 140, 141 

Andrews, Miss, 293 

Aquarium. See Marine Aquarium 

, Gosse's The, 246, 251, 252, 261, 

288, 297, 340 
Arlidge, Dr., 318 
Asplanchna, 226 
Assyria ; her Manners and Customs, 

Arts and Arms, Gosse's, 231 

B in 1852, 237 

Baird, Dr. William, 172 

Balanophyllia, 241 

Banim's O'Hara tales, 55, 345 

Bate, C. Spence, 252 

Battersby, Robert, 266 

Battle 0/ Hastings, Ao. i, Chatterton's, 17 

Bear, curious case of shooting a, 134 

Beavers, 65, 66, 108 

Bell, Mrs. Susan, "Aunt Bell," 12. 

, Thomas, F.R.S., their son, 12, 156- 

158, 170, 250 
Berger, Mr. William Thomas, 212, 376- 


Bermuda, 205 

Best, Hannah, afterwards Mrs. Thomas 
Gosse, 3, 4 ; marriage, 5 ; gives birth to 
Philip Henry, ib. ; contributes to 
family maintenance, 6 ; loneliness in 
Poole, 9 ; care and sohcitude, 13 ; 
strength of character, 16 ; visits her 
parents, 18, 19 ; in Wimbome, 153 ; 
keeps house in Hackney for Philip, 
167 ; removes to Kentish Town, 172 ; 
return to Hackney, 179 ; association 
with daughter-in-law, 221 ; quits son's 
residence, 234 ; rejoins her son at St. 
Marychurch, 293 ; her death, ib. 

, Philip, grandfather of P. H. Gosse, 


Bethune, Rev. G. W. , 114 

Bible, knowledge of the, 328, 329 

Birch, Dr. Samuel, 211 

Birds, Gosse's, 219, 221 

of Jamaica, Gosse's, 211; Illustra- 
tions to, 218, 219 

Blandford school, Gosse enters, 21 

Bluefields, Jamaica, 185, 186, 188, 201 

Bohanan, Mr., of Jamaica, 126, 129, 131 

Botta, at Nimroud, 231 

Bowerbank, James Scott, 223, 230. 243, 
245, 253, 257 

Bowes, Emily, afterwards Mrs. Piiilip 
Gosse, 215 ; ancestry, ib. ; education, 
216 ; meets Philip Gosse, 217 ; personal 
appearance, ib. ; portrait painted by G. 
F. Joseph, A.R.A., ib. ; marriage with 
Philip He.nky, 218 ; temperament, 
221 ; married life, ib., 261, 262 ; assists 
in translating Ehrenberg's Die Infu- 
sionsthierschcn, ■2'2\ ; death of her aunt, 
225 ; death of her mother, 227 ; literary 
assistance to husband, 242 ; feeble 



health, 251 ; benefited by Tenby, 254 ; 
publishes Abraham and his Children, 
256 ; issue and great success of her 
Gospel Tracts, 260 ; distressing illness, 
262-264 ; sympathy with others, 265 ; 
final illness and death, 270 ; traits of 
character, 272 ; Memorial, 273, 274 

Bowes, Hannah ne6 Troutbeck, mother 
of preceding, 215, 227 

, Nicholas, of Boston, U.S., 215 

, Lucy ned Hancock, his wife, 215 

, William, father of Emily, 215, 227 

Brady, Mr. H. B., 348 

Brightwen, Eliza, afterwards Mrs. P. H. 
Gosse, her marriage at Frome, 294 ; on 
sea-shore expeditions, 311 ; pupil of 
Cotman, 341 ; Reminiscences of my 
Husband, App, I. 

Bristol, Thomas Gosse at, 5 

British Birds, Yarrell's, 290 

Museum, 170, 172, 226, 231, 233 ; 

collections for, 178, 210 

British Quadrupeds , Bell's, 156 

Brixham, 239 

Brook Farm, co-operation at, 87 

Brown, Mr., of Poole, 11 

, John Hammond, 17, 22, 26, 35, 


Burlington, U.S.A., Gosse at, in, 112 

Bus, Vicomte du, 211 

Butler, Bishop, 14 

Butteriiies, Cambenvell beauty in New- 
foundland, 71 ; in Alabama, 129, 130 ; 
swallow-tail in Newfoundland, 89 ; 
English, 167; Heliconia in Jamaica, 
183 ; velvet-black {Urania Sloanus), 

of Paraguay, Gosse's, 315 

Byrne, Old Joe, a trapper, 65-68 

Byron's Tales, 15, 25, 351 

Cahavvba, Alabama, 132 
Camden Town, lodgings in, 243 
Campbell, Sam, Gosse's negro assistant, 

187, 190, 197, 201 
Campbell's Last Man, 28 
Canada, 89-109, 130 ; voyage to, 89, 90 ; 
autumn scenery in, 98 ; description of 
a winter tempest, 161, 162 ; Gosse's 
emigrant life at Compton, 91-104, no 
Canadian Naturalist, Gosse's, 96, 102, 

151. 155. 171, 177. 194. 344. 345 ; suc- 
cessful sale of MS., 157; publication 
and style, 159-162 ; its success, 162 
Carbonear, Newfoundland, Gosse at, 31. 
33. 73. 75. 81, 83, loi, 113 ; book club, 
38, 39; winter in, 44; Gosse leaves, 
Carrington, Mr. J. T. , 309 
Cayo Boca, West Indies, 119 
Centipede, Note on an Electric, 171 
Claiborne, Alabama, 114 
Clarke of Liverpool, William, 151 
Cleynent, Father, its effect on Gosse, 19 
Colemans, the, of Bluefields, 185, 186, 

201, 208 
Compton. See Canada 

, Captain, 73 

Comptoniensa, Lepidoptera, 100 
Conception Bay Mercury, The, 76 
Conrad, Timothy A., conchologist, 1:4 
Content, Jamaica, visit to, 192 
Cooper, Fennimore, works of, 55, 345 

, Dr. Samuel, of Boston, 215 

Creation, The Vestiges of, 279, 282, 283 
Croly, Rev. George, 76, 345, 376 
Crystal Palace Aquarium, collects for, 

, Lloyd's aquaria, 306, 309 

Cuming, Hugh, of Gower Street, 178 

Cuvier, 273 

Cyclopcedia Pantologia, 11 

Dallas, Alabama, 123, 125, 146 

Dalston, residence in, 209 

Darwin, Charles, 150, 161, 230, 256, 272, 
276, 277, 279, 292, 297, 323 ; character- 
istic letters, 266-269 I fertilization of 
orchids, 299, 300, 303, 304 

Davy's Salmonia, Sir Humphrey, 102 

Devonshire, visits to, 236-243, z^j-zz^g ; 
settles in, 272-323. See also St. Mary- 

cup coral {Caryophyllia Smithii), 


Coast, Naturalist's Ramble on the, 

240-242, 249, 250, 259, 261, 272, 297, 
339. 344. 345 ; profits on publication, 
245 ; synopsis of a chapter, 346 ; speci- 
men of its style, 347 

Dohrn, Dr. Anton, 349 



Dolphin [Coryphcena fsittacus), capture, 
and changeable colour in dying of, 121 
Doubleday, Edward, 171, 178, 233 

, Henry, 171 

Drew, Mrs., of Poole, 17 
Dujardin's Systolidcs, 231 
Dyson, David, 179 
Dyster, Frederick, 254 

Egypt, Monuments of Ancient, 211 
Ehrenberg's Die Infusion sthierchcn, 224, 

226, 255 
Elson, Mr., merchant of Carbonear, 34, 

37< 38. 43. 57. 61, 68, 71, 75, 79, 88 ; 

decline of his firm, 105 
Emigrant life in Canada, 92-96 
EncyclopcBiiia Pertiiensis, earliest study, 11 
Entomologia Alabamensis, an unpublished 

work, 130 

Terrce-novis, 79-80 

Entomological Journal, 71, 80, 96 ; ex- 
tracts from, 100, loi, 106-109 

Society, 315 

Entomologist, The, Edward Newman's, 

Entomologist' s Text Book, Westwood's, 

Entomology of Nezvfound land, 102 
Epping Forest, 167, 171 
Epps, Dr. John, 270 
Essays of Eli a, 38 
Evolutionism, position towards, 273, 276, 

277. 336 
Excelsior Magazine, 275 

Fairbank, Dr., 202 

Faraday, 335, 350 

Fishes, Gosse's, 225, 227 

Florida Reef, 118, 119 

FioscularidcB, the, 295 

Fog-bow or circle off Newfoundland, 62 

Forbes, Edward, 243, 252, 255, 268, 272, 

333. 344 
Foster, Prof. Michael, 317 
Fourierism, 87 


Gamble, T. , of Carbonear, 47 

Garland and Co., Messrs. George, of 
Poole, 24, 29 

Geology and Genesis, 277 

Glaucus, or the Wonders of the Shore, 
Kingsley's, 253, 257 ; projects of Gosse 
noticed in, 344 

Glimpses of the Wonderful, 178, 179 

Good Words, contributes to, 296, 297 

Goodrington sands, 321, 322 

Gossii family, 2 

, Elizabeth, afterwards Mrs. Green, 

sister of Philip Henry, 71-73, 103, 156, 
162 ; her death, 163 

, Etienne, author of Le MMisant, 2 

, Mrs. Emily. See Bowes, Emily 

, Mrs. Hannah, See Best, Hannah 

, Philip Henry, ancestors, 2; birth, 

\ 5 ; earliest recollection, 6, 7 ; first ill- 
I ness, 10 ; attends dame's school, 10 ; 
first impression of natural objects, 10, 
II ; love of natural history aroused, 
II, 12 ; rebuffs, 13 ; strength of memory, 
16, 17 ; attends Sells' school, 17 ; love 
of books, 18 ; enters Blandford school, 
21 ; thinking powers, 21 ; rambles and 
zoological studies, 22, 23 ; appearance 
at age of fifteen, 24 ; enters mercantile 
house, 24 ; leisure hours, 26, 27 ; love 
of lepidoptera, 27 ; appears in print, 28 ; 
escape from drowning, 28 ; accepts a 
clerkship in Newfoundland, 29 ; friend- 
ship with W. C. St. John, 34-37, 39-42 ; 
hfe in Newfoundland, -^-j, 38, 42, 43 ; 
attachment to Miss Jane Elson, 45 ; 
clerical work, 48, 51, 57-59 ; remunera- 
tion, 51, 52 ; change from boy to man, 
54 ; attempts novel writing, 57 ; keeps 
a journal, 59 ; gains information on 
seals and seal-fishing, 57-60 ; suscepti- 
bility to ghostly fears, 60 ; moved from 
Carbonear to St. Mary, 61, 62 ; life at 
St. Mary's, 62-64 I return to Carbonear, 
65 ; attempts poetry, 69 ; commences 
serious study of natural history, 70 ; 
becomes a Christian, 70; visits Eng- 
land, 70 ; sister's illness develops re- 
ligious feelings, 72, 73 ; return to New- 
foundland, 76 ; letters exhibiting eager- 
ness of natural history observations, 



76-79: "collection," 79; amateur in- 
struments, 80 ; first insect cabinet, 82, 
no, 112, 148; religious fervour and 
rigidness of thought, 83, 149, 150, 214, 
276-283, 324-332 ; buoyant Canadian 
anticipations, 86, 87 ; quits Newfound- 
land, 89 ; becomes Canadian settler at 
Compton, 91 ; farm, 92-95, 97, 103 ; 
his Canadian Naturalist, 96 ; teacher 
in a township school, 99, 100 ; recog- 
nized by Canadian Scientific Societies, 
100 ; temporary ill-health, 103, 104, 
197, 212, 233, 234, 256, 259 ; tired of 
Canada, what prospect for a school at 
Poole ? 104 ; change of intention, re- 
solves for Southern States, ib. ; sells 
farm, 105 ; position at age of twenty- 
eight, 105 ; journey from Canada to 
United States, in, 112 ; welcome by 
scientific men of Philadelphia, 113-115 ; 
voyage to Mobile, 115-121 ; reflections, 
121-123 ; passage to King's Landing, 
123 ; engaged by Judge Saffold, ib. ; 
up-country experience, 124, 125 ; 
school-house. Mount Pleasant, 126, 
127 ; daily routine, 127-129 ; ento- 
mological activity, 129-132 ; skill as a 
zoological artist, 130 ; subjected to 
social peculiarities, 140, 141 ; morbidity 
of mind, 144, 145 ; farewell to Dallas 
and the Saffolds, 146 ; quits America 
and arrives at Liverpool, 148 ; sale of 
entomological collection, ib. ; Atlantic 
voyage, 150, 151 ; refuses a museum 1 
curatorship, 151-153 ; attachment to I 
Miss Button, 155 ; seeks fortune in | 
London, 155, 156 ; unexpected good 
fortune in sale of Canadian Nattiralist 
MS. to Van Voorst, 157 ; gives instruc- 
tion in flower-painting, 158, 162 ; pur- 
suits in 1839, 159 ; sketches of Sher- i 
borne, 163 ; sister's death, 163, 164 ; ill 
fortune, 164 ; starts an academy in 
Hackney, ib. ; process of self-education, 
167-169 ; opening up of a literary 
career, 169, 170, 177, 178 ; gains valu- 
able friends, 171, 172 ; removes to 
Kentish Town, 172 ; nocturnal pursuits 
leads to arrest, 173 ; suggested visit to 
Jamaica for British Museum, 178 ; 
voyage, 179-182 ; occupation in 
Jamaica, 183-202 ; father's death, 189 ; 
bitten by a scorpion, 202 ; homeward 

voyage, 202-205 ; appearance in 1846, 
206, 207 ; accidental portrait, 207 ; 
example of his severity of reproof, 208, 
209 ; slow growth of means, 210 ; 
thoughts of visit to Azores, ib. ; literary 
activity, 211, 212, 218, 219, 227, 231, 

232 ; courtship and marriage to Miss 
E. Bowes, 217, 218 ; residence in De 
Beauvoir Square, 219 ; seclusion of 
home life, 221 ; buys a microscope, 
222 ; its effect, ib. ; starts study of 
Rotifera, 222, 223 ; birth of his son, * 
223 ; daily division of studies, 224 ; 
member of Linnsean and Microscopical 
Societies, 225 ; improved fortune, ib. ; 
inaugurates new method of natural 
history observation, 228, 229 ; archaeo- 
logical studies, 231 ; social life, 232, 

233 ; marine researches on shores of 
Devonshire, 238-243 ; return to London, 
243 ; experiments towards, and estab- 
lishment of, marine aquariums, 243, . 
244 ; agrees to collect for Zoological 
Society's aquarium, 244 ; becomes a 
popular lecturer, 245 ; visits Weymouth, 
ib. ; dredging and collecting expedi- 
tions, 244-249 ; returns to London 
(Islington), 252; visit to Tenby, new 
friends, 253, 254 ; conducts classes on 
sea-shore at Ilfracombe, 257-259 ; and 
at Tenby, 264 ; activity in 1855. 259 ; 
elected F. R.S. , 261 ; wedded life, 261, 
262 ; correspondence with Darwin, 266- 
269 ; death of first wife, 270 ; its effect, 
270-274 ; position as a zoologist, 273 ; 
premature hopes of an abortive Welsh 
professorship, 274 ; finally quits London 
for South Devon, 275 ; study of sea- 
anemones, 284-290 ; working garb, 
287, 288 ; literary work, 284, 289-293 ; 
household at St. Marychurch, 293 ; 
second marriage, 294 ; abandons zo- 
ology, 296 ; cultivates orchids, ib. ; 
correspondence with Darwin, 297-304 ; 
ceases professional authorship, 305 ; 
marine zoological enthusiasm revived, 
307-309 ; excursions described, 310- 
312 ; study of astronomy, 307, 322, 
323 ; resuscitation of Lepidoptera 
studies, 313-317; publication of Roti- 
fera, the joy of his old age, 319, 320 ; 

final family ramble on sea-shore, 321 ; 
bronchial attack, coupled vdth heait 



disease, proves fatal. 323; burial at 
Torquay, ib. ; social isolation, 333 ; 
scope of scientific labours, 336, 337 ; 
claim as a zoological artist, 338-341 ; 
characteristics as a lecturer and public 
speaker, 342 ; as a letter writer, 343 ; 
criticism of his books. 343-348 ". unable 
to depict human figure, 349, 350 ; soli- 
tary visit to a theatre. 350; love of 
poetry. 351, 352 
Gosse, Thomas, miniature painter, i ; 
father of Philip Henry, 2 ; birth and 
training, ib. ; courtship and marriage, 
3-5 ; wanderings, 5. 6 ; located at 
Poole, 7 ; voluminous writer of un- 
published works, 14, 189, 190 ; love of 
reading, 15 ; joins his son in Kentish 
Town. 172 ; removal to Hackney. 179 ; 
his death, 189 

, William, of Ringwood, 2 ; his 

daughter Susan, 12 

, William, brother of Philip Henry, 

5, 24, 43, 84, 163 ; sails for Newfound- 
land, 20 ; welcomes his brother on 
arrival, 33 

Gould, John, 211 

Gray, George Richard, 172 

, John Edward, ib. 

Green, Mr. and Mrs., of Worcester, 3 

, Mrs. Elizabeth. See Gosse, Elizabeth 

Greenwell, Dora. 333 

Griffen's The Collegians, 56 


Hackney, residence at, 158, 164, 165, 167, 

172, 213, 234 
Haffenden, Mr., of Jamaica. 184 
Hamburg insect cabinet, 82, no 
Hampton. Captain. 79, 82 
Hancock. Governor John, 216 
Hankey. John A., 210 
Harbour Grace, residence of St. 

family, 34. 55, 68, 8i 
Harrison, Samuel, 75, ']6 

, Slade and Co., of Poole, 29, 47 

Hayti seen from the sea, 203 

Hill, Richard, Jamaica naturalist, 194- 

198. 202, 212, 267, 269 
Home Friend, The, 242 
Hooker, Sir William, 178, 303 


Howard, Mrs. Robert. 218 
Howlett. Rev. Y., 322 
Hudson, Dr. C. T., 255, 296. 318, 371 
Hunt, Mr. Arthur, of Torquay. 312 
Huron Lake region. 91. 97 
Huxley, Professor, 254, 316 
Hyena. South African, 23 

Ilfracombe, 239. 257 

Infusionsthierchen, Ehrenberg's Die, 224, 

Infusoria, Pritchard's History of the, 222, 


Insect cabinet, 82, no. 112, 148 

Islington, residence in, 252 

Israel, The Restoration of, unpublished 

poem, 76 
Jamaica, 180-205 ; starts for, 178 ; orni- 
thology, 180; approach to, 181, 182; 
scenery, 186, 199, 200 ; natural history 
observations by R. Hill, 194-196 

, Birds of, 211, 212 ; Illustrations to, 


, Naturalist's Sojourn in, 193, 196, 

225, 227-229, 344, 345 

Society, the, 198, 200 

Jaques, G. E. and Mrs., of Carbonear, 
43. 83, 85, 87. 88, 151 ; remove to 
Canada, 89; their farm, 95, 105, no, 

Jardine, Sir William, 211 

Jews, History of the, 219, 220 

Johnston, Dr. George, 243, 284 

Joseph Andrews, 26 

Joseph, G. P., A.R.A., portrait of Mrs. 
Gosse, 217 

Kendrick, Major, 135 

Kentish Town, residence in, 172, 173 

Kew Gardens, 178, 233 

, Guide to, 259 

Kingfisher's nest, discovery of a, 19 

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, 151, 251. 252, 
255. 256, 293, 333 ; germ of Glaucus, 
253 ; letter on Gosse's Omphales, 280- 
283 ; dredging for specimens, 289 ; criti- 
cisms of Gosse's works, 344, 345 

Knight, Rev. Richard, Wesleyan minister, 



Labrador fleet, 33, 44 

Lacerta viridis at Poole, 13 

Lamarck, 273 

Land and Sea, Gosse's, 304 

Lankester, Prof. E. Ray, 261, 316, 318, 

Lara, Byron's, 25, 351 
Lar sabellarum, paper on, 266 
Layard at Nimroud, 231 
Leamington, 225 
Leidy, Dr. Joseph, zoologist, 113 
Lepidoptera, Co7nptoniensa, lOo. See also 

, Gosse on The Clasping Organs 

ancillary to Generation of certain, 

316, 317 
Lester, Mr. , M. P. for Poole, 28 
Lever's exhibition. Sir Aston, 27 
Lewin, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. , 197 
Life in its Lower, Intermediate and 

Higher Forms, Gosse's, 276 
Lightning, description of effect on a 

house struck by, 53 
Lighton, Sir Charles, 259 
Liguanea Mountains, Jamaica, 199 
Linnaean Society, 225, 232, 256, 259, 266, 

Linnaeus's Systema Natures, 82, 338 

Genera Insectorum, 338 

Lisby, Edward, 24 

Livermead, Tor Bay, 285, 288 

Liverpool,- Gosse at, 151, 153 

Lloyd, W. Alford, 306, 348 

Loader, parish clerk of Carbonear, 84, 85 

Loddiges, George, florist, 158 

London district. Lake Huron, 91, 97 

Longicorns, 204 

Longmans, Messrs., 225, 229 

Low, Hugh, 179 

Lundy Island, 242, 304 

Lush, W. F. , 44, 113 


Macleod, Dr. Norman, 296 
Ma7n)nalia, Gosse's, 212, 220 
March, Mary, of Newfoundland, 60 
Marine Aquarium, first germ, 235 ; natural 
one, 237 ; first serious attempt to create. 

243 ; its inventor, 244 ; first private, 250 ; 
its popularization, 252, 348, 349 ; at St. 
Marychurch, 309, 312, 320 
Marine Aquarium, Handbook to the, 259 

biological stations, 349 

Martin of Poole, 62 

, John W. , of St. Mary's, Newfound- 
land, 62-65 
Melicertidcs, 295 
Melly, Mr. , insect buyer, 148 
Memory, training of the, 165, 166 
Methodism, Gosse and, 153, 154, 37') 
Microscope, Adams's Essays on the, 70 

, Gosse's Evenings at the, 290 

Microscopical Society, 223, 224, 230, 232, 

243. 259 

Mitchell, D. W., 211, 244 

Mobile, voyage from Philadelphia to, 
115-121 ; visit to, 148, 149 

MoUoy, Dr., of Carbonear, 81 

, Dr. P. E., of Montreal, 92 

Montego Bay, Jamaica, 197 

Montreal museum, 100 

Moravians, 186, 191, 192 

Morgan, Mrs. , of Clifton, 270 

Mount Pleasant, Alabama, Gosse's school 
at, 126 

Murray, John, 225 

Museum. See British, Montreal, Phila- 


Natural History, Annals and Magazine 
of, 226, 248, 252, 259 

, Gosse's Romance (or Poetry of), 

291, 292 ; second series, 295 

, views on study of, 227, 228 

Naturalist' s Sojourn in Jamaica, Gosse's, 

196, 225, 227-229, 304, 344, 345 
Nevill, Lady Dorothy, 304, 313 
Newell, Mr., of Carbonear, 43, 46, 54, 57 
Newfoundland, 30-88 ; voyage to, 30, 31 ; 
scenery, 33, 107, 163 ; Irish element, 42, 
81, 86 ; planters and their course of 
business, 47, 48 ; fisheries and fishing 
population, 48-50; "North Shore," 
49 ; winter, 56, 57, 66 ; overland winter 
journey, 66-68 ; contrast to Dorsetshire, 
74 ; meteorological notes issued in, 76 
landscape, 78, 79; entomology, 81, 86 
party spirit and outrage (1833), 81 



Gosse its first naturalist, 82, 338 ; papers 
on temperature, 100 ; stale of its society 
(1838). 105 

Newfoundland, Entomology of , loi, 102 

Newman, Edward, 171 

New York, Gosse at, 112 

Nineveh, winged bull of, 226, 231 

Noseworthy, Brother, 145, 146 

Notcmmatina, 296 

Nuttall, Thomas, botanist, 113 


Ocean, The, Gosse's, 173-178, 304 

Oddicombe, 237, 285 

O'Hara Family tales, Banims, 55 

Otnphalos, Gosse's, 276-283 

Opossum hunt in Alabama, 135-140 

Orchids, Jamaica, 184, 187 ; fertilization 

of. 297-304 
Ornithology, Gosse's Popular British, 

2.2,0, 221 

, Wilson's American, 160 

Osborne, Mr., of Jamaica, 198 

Otter slides, 66, 67 

Owen, Sir Richard, 230, 292 

Paget, Dr. Sir James, 262 

Parkstone, 73, 74 

Parnell, Dr., 195 

Peachia. See Sea-anemones 

Peale, T. R., zoologist artist, 113 

Pennant, 159 

Penny, R.A., Edward, 3 

Philadelphia, 104, 113, 114 

Phippard, sailmaker, 30 

, J. P., William, of St. Mary's, 62, 

Pimlico, Mrs. Gosse in, 265 
Plessing, Mr. and Mrs., 186 
Plymouth Brethren, theology of, 213, 214, 


I'oole in 1812, 8 ; Gosse family in, 6, 7, 
20, 26 ; Philip Henry leaves, 29 ; re- 
visited, 71, 73-75. 103 

Popular Science Review, 295 

Prickly pear, 122 

Pritchard's History of Infusoria, 222, 318 

Public Ledger of Newfoundland, 81 
Puerto Rico, coast scenery, 203 

, San Juan, 203. 204 

Punch and the Marine .Aquarium. 348 

Quebec, its approach described, 90, 94 
Quekett, John, 223 

Racoon, chasing the, 138, 139 

Religious feelings, 31, 32, 169. 213, 324- 

334, Appendix 11. 
Remingtons of Massachusetts, 216 
Remoras, or sucking fish, described, 120, 

Renouard, Rev. G. C, 211 
Reporter, Royal Agricultural Society's, 195 
Reptiles, Gosse's, 221 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 2 
Ringwood, Gosse family at, 2 
Robinson's drawings of birds, etc., Dr. 

Anthony, 198, 200, 202 
Rocky River, Newfoundland, 66 
Ross, Sir James, 173 
Rossetti, Dante G. , 226 
Rotifers, Gosse's studies of, 222-224, 

226, 235, 252, 255, 256, 295, 318, 337, 

Rotifera found in Britain, Gosse's Cata- 
logue of , 2-^1 I 
, Gosse's Dicecious Character of the, 

, Gosse's On the Structure, etc., of, 

, Hudson and Gosse's, The, 318-321 ; 

Supplement, 321 
Royal Society, Proceedings of, 171, 255, 

259, 316 
, Gosse's election, 261, 263 ; obituary 

notice of Gosse, 348 

Sacred Streams, Gosse's, 224, 227 
Saffold, Hon. Chief Justice Rueben, 122. 
123, 146 

, Ruel)cn, junr. , 125 

2 C 



Salmonia, or Days of Fly Fishing, Sir 

Humphrey Davy's, 102 
Salter, Dr. Hyde, 262 

, Tom, Gosse's cousin, 11, 75 

Saturday Review on Gosse's death, 337 
Saunders, W. W. , letter to, 209, 210 
Savannah-le-Mar, Jamaica, 184, 185, 188, 

Saw-whetter, Sound of the, m 
Scarron's Roman Comique, 26 
School Seventy Years ago, A Country Day , 


Scorpion on ship in North Atlantic, 77 ; 
and off Kingston, 202 

Scott, J. , of Edinburgh, 299 

, Sir Walter, works of, 55 

Sculpen {Cottus), 114 

Sea and Land, 242 

Sea-anemones {Actinia), 241 ; rosea and 
nivea, 239, 253 ; bunodes coronata, 289 ; 
Sagartia, 241 ; bunodes, ib. , gastro- 
nomic test of crassicornis, 241, 242 ; 
peachia, 256 

and Corals, Gosse's History of the 

British [Actinologia Britannica), 284, 
290. 307, 337, 340 

Sea-serpent, theory of the, 291, 292, 295 

Sea-side Pleasures, Gosse's, 242 

Seal fishery, departure from and return to, 
Newfoundland, 48 

Seal pelts dehvered, method of checking, 

57. 58 

Sedgwick, Adam, 277 

Sells, Charles, of Poole, 17, 39 

Selma, Alabama, 146 

Serpentine, Asplanchna in, 226 

Sherborne, 157, 163 

Shore, A Year at the, 296, 305, 341 

Sinclair, Lord, 296 

Slade, Elson and Co. , 47, 93 ; decline of 
the firm, 105 

Slavery in Southern States (1838), 142, 143 

Sly, Mrs., 10 

Smith, Anker, A.R.A. , 2 

Society for Promoting Christian Know- 
ledge. Gosse writes for, 169, 170, 173, 
211, 219, 231, 242 

Southey's Thalaba, 351 

Sparrow, America, 115 

Sprague, Mr., 79 

Squirrels in Alabama, 133 

St. John, William Charles, 34, 54-57, 76 ; 
his father, Oliver, 34 ; portrayed, 34-36 ; 

I warm friendship for Gosse, 36, 37 ; 
1 death, 37 ; letter recounting early walks, 

39, 40; burlesque poem on Gosse, 41, 

42 ; marriage, 68 
St. John, Hannah and Charlotte, 55 
St. Mary's, Newfoundland, Gosse a clerk 

in, 61 ; described, 62, 63 
St. Marychurch, Devon, visit to, 236, 239 ; 

buys a house and settles at, 275 ; life in, 

306, 307, Appendix I. 
St. Thomas, West Indies, visit to, 204 
Stacey, Miss Mary, 262 
Stanley, Bishop, 250 
Star crane fly of Newfoundland, loi 
Stephanoceros, 112., 295 
Stoddards of Massachusetts, 216 
Sucking fish. See Remoras 
Surrey Zoological Gardens, collects for 

Aquarium of, 250 
Swallow, Jamaica green, 223 
Swanage, at, 20 
Systema Naturce of Linnaeus, 82, 338 

Tarrant Monkton, 22 

Tegg's London Encyclopcsdia, 82 

Tenby, its attractions, 253, 254 ; revisited, 

, Gosse's, 254, 256, 259, 272 ; profits 

of, 261 
Thomas, Luke, 30, 32 
Thoreau, Henry, 161 
Titton Brook, early recollections of, 6 
Tom Cringle s Log, Michael Scott's, 185 
Toole, Ned, and the Ghost, 63, 64 
Tor Bay, Kingsley and Gosse on, 289 
Torquay, 351 ; Gosse's burial place, 324 
Tramp, anecdote of a, 15 
Troutbeck, Hannah, 215 

, Rev. John, 215 

Trumpet Major, Hardy's The, 22 
Twohig, Mr., 69 

Van Voorst, John, purchases MS. of 
Canadian Naturalist, 157 ; friendship 
to Gosse, 158, 170, 211, 245 

Vivarium, its inventor, 243. 244 




Walsh's Brazil, 151 

Ward, William. A.R.A.. 2 

Warington, Robert, 243 

Waterton, Charles, Wanderings, 160 

Wesleyan Society, joins the, 83. 84 ; 

thoughts of the ministry, 153, 154 ; 

local preacher, 169 ; severs connection 

with, ib. 
West Indies, visit to, 180-205 i revisit 

contemplated, 227 
Westwood, John Obadiah, Prof., 172 
Weymouth, marine researches at, 246, 

247, 251, 257 
Whale, Beluga or white, 73 ; toothless of 

Havre {Delphinorhynchus tnicropterus), 

White, Adam, 172, 233 

, Dr. Buchanan, 315, 316 

, Gilbert, of Selborne, 106, 160, 180, 

344. 345 

Oak, passage to Mobile in the, 115 

Whymper, J. W., 172, 173, 177, 212 
Whitneys of Massachusetts, 216 
Wight, visit to Isle of, 234 
Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, 254 
Wilkes, Lieut. Charles, 113 
Wilson, Alexander, ornithologist, 114, 

115, i6o, 229 

Wimbornc, Philip Henry and mother at, 


Winthrop, Governor, 215 
Winton, Henry, outrage on, 81 
Wombwell's menagerie, 22, 23 
Wood, Mr., of St. John's, 47 
Woodpeckers {Picus principalis and 

Picus auratus), 131 
Worcester, Thomas Gosse at, i, 3-5 ; his 

marriage, and birthplace of Philip 

Henry, 5 

Yarrell, William, 20, 290 

Youth's Magazine, contributes to, 28 

Zoology, views on study of, 228, 229 
Jor Schools, Text-book of, 221, 222, 

224, 227 

, Introduction to, 48, 169, 170 

, Manual of Marine, 256, 257, 259, 

263, 338 
Zoological artist, Gosse as a, 338, 339 
Gardens Aquarium, 244 ; Gosse 

collects for, 246 ; dispute re-conditions, 

248. 249 




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